Opening speech EHiN-FH 20166

Good morning!

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to the largest e-health conference in Norway.

A special welcome to our international guests.

Getting patients involved in decisions about own health care, is in the heart of the health policy in Norway.

People with chronic diseases wants to be more empowered and to live meaningful and valuable lives.

Health and care professionals need new services and tools to help and support their patients.

Technology can enable this.

New technology represent huge opportunities to widen access to health care and increase patient safety.

I want eHealth-services to be the new normal.

The best way to meet these ambitions is through collaboration and innovation.

Collaboration is an essential means for success – across disciplines, sectors and countries.

This conference is all about learning from each other. We need to share experiences and knowledge across borders.

This year the "eHealth in Norway conference" is held in cooperation with the "European Telemedicine Conference".

I believe that bringing these two conferences together will strengthen the discussions and learning.

Technology is important to deliver top-quality health care.

Citizens and health personnel expect technology to be the "new normal".

As Minister of Health, meeting these expectations is at the very top of my agenda.

Our ambitions are high.

We want healthcare services where the patient is a partner.

We want to:

  • Empower the individual citizen
  • Improve the quality of life and quality of care
  • And strengthen patient safety

Technology is one of our most powerful tools to achieve this – if we use it correctly.

Technology can provide new ways of providing care.

New opportunities to involve patients in the decision making. 

The patient should not need to repeat the same information to different health personnel, or do the same tests twice.

Information should follow the patient.

Our vision is "One patient – one record".

This will move us towards a modern health care sector

Some say that we are moving too slowly.

Yes, things takes time.

But I am proud to say that we, also in an international perspective, have come a long way – a very long way.

Digitalization is not only about technology. It is also about change.

A digital health care is increasingly becoming the natural part of cure, care and prevention.

For example, many young people have never seen a paper prescription – only an electronic one.

Our national health portal – helsenorge.no – has over 1.3 million visits every month.

This will increase as new services become available.

Today the patients have online access to their prescriptions, vaccines and main contacts in the health service.

Several more services are coming, including e-consultations and appointments.

In the Northern and Western part of Norway, people can already use the health portal to access their own medical records. The rest of Norway will soon follow.

It is all about empowering the patients. 

One example:

Last winter I met a woman. She is in frequent contact with the hospital. She has now got access to her own medical record, and told me:

" Being an informed patient is important for me and for those who will help me. It is easy and I feel safer. "

Technology gives people with chronic diseases new opportunities to do more themselves. From home.

Investing in personal connected health and care technologies like electronic drug dispenser, safety-alarms and assistive care and telemedicine solutions, has several benefits. It:,

  • Reduces hospital admissions,
  • reduces  workload for the homecare services,
  • Reduces  costs
  • and finely - patients experience more freedom and feel safer

However, the health care sector is very complex.

Making everybody pull in the same direction is not an easy task.

But, we are making progress.

We have established a "guiding star" for digitalization: The Norwegian Directorate for e-health.

Progress in e-health lies in cooperation and governmental control.

The most important task for the Directorate is to facilitate and coordinate the needs and requirements for all actors and especially for the patients

The Directorate for e-health must provide governance and guidance on how to move forward.

That means

  • Pushing healthcare providers to invest in technology.
  • Providing a common framework for both IT-developers and customers
  • And coordinating different requests

Ladies and gentlemen - Let me be clear on this:

Success lies in the cooperation between the public and private sector.  

We are all change agents for a better health care service.

It is now that we have a window of opportunity to change the delivery of healthcare.

To reach our common goals, we have to work together in a partnership with different countries and different stakeholders - government, public and private suppliers and vendors.

By ourselves we just have parts of the puzzle. Together we have all the pieces.

We just have to fit them together.  

Thank you for your attention.