Challenges in Telemedicine and eHealth: Lessons Learned from 20 Years with Telemedicine in Tromsø
Gunnar Hartvigsen, Monika A. Johansen, Per Hasvold, Johan Gustav Bellika, Eirik Arsand, Eli Arild, Deede Gammon, Sture Pettersen, Steinar Pedersen
The Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine (NST) has, over the past two decades, contributed to the development and implementation of telemedicine and ehealth services in Norway. From 2002, NST has been a WHO Collaboration Center for telemedicine. In August 1996, Norway became the first country to implement an official telemedicine fee schedule making telemedicine services reimbursable by the national health insurer. Telemedicine is widely used in Northern Norway. Since the late 1980's, the University Hospital of North-Norway has experience in the following areas: teleradiology, telepathology, teledermatology, teleotorhinolaryngology (remote endoscopy), remote gastroscopy, tele-echocardiography, remote transmission of ECGs, telepsychiatry, teleophthalmology, teledialysis, teleemergency medicine, teleoncology, telecare, telegeriatric, teledentistry, maritime telemedicine, referrals and discharge letters, electronic delivery of laboratory results and distant teaching for healthcare personnel and patients. Based on the result achieved, the health authority in North-Norway plans to implement several large-scale telemedicine services: Teleradiology (incl. solutions for neurosurgery, orthopedic, different kinds of surgery, nuclear medicine, acute traumatic and oncology), digital communication and integration of patient data, and distant education. In addition, the following services will also be considered for large-scale implementation: teledialysis, prehospital thrombolysis, telepsychiatry, teledermatology. Last in line for implementation are: pediatric, district medical center (DMS), teleophthalmology and ear-nose-throat (ENT).