Summary of the good practice:
Distance spanning healthcare is a practice stemming from the strategy for distance spanning healthcare where three prioritized areas for carrying out healthcare at distance are pointed out:
- Acute assessment between rural healthcare centres and hospitals as well as between hospitals
- Planned and routine visits/assessments between rural healthcare centres and hospitals as well as between hospitals
- Planned and routine visits/assessments between rural healthcare centres and healthcare centres along the cost (larger towns)
For area 1 and 2 pilot projects have been carried out and routines have been established and implementation is on- going. Not however for number 3.
For the work there has been an assigned project manager, project group and steering group. Work has been focused and carried out in areas in most need of the solutions but also with a readiness/maturity to do the piloting. The specific objectives have been to create:
- New ways of working and new opportunities
- Method for continued development and implementation
- User and patient-participation
- Technical solutions and services
- Organisation and regulations
The key aspects which can be transferred to the rest of the county and also to a national level and beyond would be the knowledge of infrastructure needed in place, which competences need to be present, the maturity and readiness to adopt technical solutions, digital literacy in both personnel and patient.
Challenge addressed by the good practice
- Long travel time and distance for patients – Health inequalities
- Patient and staff safety in rural areas
- Lack of access to specialist care
Key innovative elements of the good practice
New ways of working and routines have been established for both planned visits and acute assessments. Patients do not have to travel long distances for planned visits and an on-call doctor can easily be reached for acute assessments (when not directly life threatening). The technology is stable and reliable and everything is conducted through the county council’s internal video solution ensuring all patient data kept confidential. The solution makes it possible for doctors and patients to meet via video (assisted by nurse) and this offers much better assessments than solely by phone.