Health records for Norway’s population of over 5 million citizens had traditionally been stored in several different administrative silos. This made it difficult and time consuming for healthcare professionals to gain access to a patient’s vital information so they could easily provide timely and appropriate treatment. There were also concerns over information accuracy and completeness.
To overcome these challenges, the Norwegian Directorate of eHealth determined that a unified system capable of sharing consistent information between all healthcare providers and providing patients access to their own medical records was the correct path forward.
"Both patients and physicians realize that a unified system helps us become more efficient and maybe most importantly, it helps us to improve the quality of care."
Based on an agile plan to accelerate delivery, focus attention on critical system performance and ensure data privacy, we designed and implemented a unified, digitized record management system that would meet the Directorate’s objectives.
Beginning with a pilot project that eventually extended to cover 400,000 people in four munici-palities, the system collected critical patient information and shared it across the following audiences:
After-hours emergency primary care centers
Emergency medical services
Emergency Medical Communication Centers (EMCC)
General practitioners’ offices
A valuable difference
The new, unified, digital system is proving invaluable in providing critical information to practitioners at time of treatment—information they might not otherwise have access too, such as in the case of an unresponsive patient. Patients now have full visibility into their own information, empowering them to take an active role in their own care by updating their records through a web-portal.
The initiative has taken the Directorate an important step closer to seamless information sharing across Norway’s national healthcare sector and represents the first national system in Europe for sharing clinical information across regions, healthcare businesses and care levels.