E-HEALTH’S POTENTIAL TO DELIVER BETTER HEALTHCARE
In spite of demonstrated potential, part of the challenge of integrating e-health solutions into healthcare practices and systems is the fact that many insurance companies and policymakers have yet to acknowledge them as essential to a treatment regimen. Why are healthcare systems slow to embrace digital innovations? Daniel Forslund, Commissioner for Innovation and E-health at the Stockholm City Council, states that one of the reasons lies with administrations. “If the hospital or the health clinic is not reimbursed for a digital meeting or a virtual meeting, then, well, then they will only provide the old ways of interacting with a physical meeting. So we have to make our regulations more flexible and open so that health professionals can try what’s best actually for the patient.”
Mr. Forslund’s insight arrives on the heels of a successful initiative put in place by two physicians, Dr. Anders Johansson, a movement disorder specialist at the Karolinska University in Sweden, and Dr. Christian Carlström, a neurologist at the Neurology Clinic Stockholm. Sweden has both a lack of specialists (33 per million inhabitants compared to 66 per million inhabitants on average in Europe) and an ageing population. This has led to wait times of more than six months for certain patients to get a referral to see a specialist. Their pilot initiative used video links to connect the two doctors, who collaborated to discuss patient care, allowing them to discuss up to four patients at a time. This helped reduce long wait times for referrals, which dropped to seven days on average.
Pilot programmes that can demonstrate the power of e-health solutions to improve system efficiency is crucial to demonstrating their importance to policymakers and payers.
EU Whitepaper / Smartcare
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