Healthcare and Care with Distance-spanning Technologies
Welfare policy, Welfare Technology
With an ageing population and with depopulation resulting in sparsely populated areas throughout the Nordic region, digitalisation and remote solutions are the new infrastructure for maintaining the Nordic welfare model. The issue, however, is how the countries of the Nordic region can make such services accessible to all citizens – regardless of where in the country they live.
In the project Healthcare and Care with Distance-spanning Technologies (Vård och omsorg på distans, or VOPD) the Nordic Welfare Centre is working to survey the whole of the Nordic region to find well-established examples of digital solutions that work. These are solutions that have already been implemented and are being used within municipalities, county councils and regions in the Nordic countries.
Categories of particular interest in this survey are:
- Remote treatment – treatment at a distance. This includes telemedicine, treatment and consultation via online tools and self-treatment. Mainly this is healthcare provided from a distance.
- Remote monitoring – monitoring at a distance. This involves sensors, cameras, reminders and data collection. Mainly this is social care provided from a distance.
- Remote meetings – meetings at a distance. This means all kinds of meetings, both those between professionals and those between citizens and professionals.
- New digital services for healthcare and social care. This category involves finding innovative new solutions, in the form of both public-private partnerships and models in which citizens can take greater responsibility themselves.
Demand for care is increasing
Soon 25 percent of the population in the Nordic countries will be over 65 years old. This is already the case In Sweden. The fact that more people are living longer is a good thing. Some will need a lot of health and social care, while many others will remain healthy up to a very old age. Whatever their health status, people who are ageing need various kind of support.
“We in the Nordic region have been the first to address the issue of growing numbers of older people in the population and the fact that a smaller working-age population will have to provide for more and more people. Demand for municipal care services will continue to increase,” says Bengt Andersson, project manager at the Nordic Welfare Centre, adding:
“It is a smart move from several of perspectives for the Nordic region to continue to pioneer work on how our communities can deal with these demographic changes using various kinds of digital and remote solutions.”
The VOPD project was made a priority by the Nordic Council of Ministers under its Swedish presidency in 2018. The Nordic Welfare Centre and the Centre for Rural Medicine in the Swedish region of Västerbotten are managing the project with support from Nordregio, an international research centr
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