Åsa Regnér has resigned
Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality


Speech by Minister Regnér at Charité University Hospital in Berlin

Speech by Minister for Children, The Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér on e-health at Charité University Hospital, during state visit in Berlin, 7 October 2016.

Check against delivery.

I would like to thank the representatives of Charité for having us here.

Today I will share a few thoughts about the Swedish perspective on e-health. The experience we have is a very dual experience.

On the one hand, Sweden has come a long way. We have one of the highest percentages of internet users in the world. We have given birth to start-ups that have become global brands, such as Spotify and Skype. Both the business and public sectors have largely digitised their activities.

This is also true to a large extent if we look at Sweden's health care sector. Close to 100 per cent of patient records are digitised, and the percentage of pharmaceutical prescriptions that are made through our national, digital system is almost as high.

Sweden has national quality registries that contain vast amounts of data on patient outcomes – a gold mine for research and development.

On the other hand, however, we can see that the Swedish health care sector does not fully utilise the opportunities offered by digitisation. We still have problems when it comes to non-user-friendly systems.

Perhaps one of the most fitting examples is that despite our high degree of digitisation, the fax machine is still a common tool in our hospitals and health clinics. Patient records are printed, faxed and re-digitised, for both technical and legal reasons.

On a more official level, we decided upon a vision for Sweden's eHealth policy earlier this year. The vision is that by 2025, we aim to be the best country in the world at using the opportunities offered by digitisation and eHealth in both health and welfare.

This is a vision for both the health care system and social services, jointly decided by the cabinet and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

The two most significant aspects of eHealth and digitisation in the health care system in Swedish eHealth policy are the following.

For patients: to be able to interact with the health care system and take part in their own care.

For professional healthcare workers: to have access to good clinical decision support systems, and efficient systems for accessing and recording patient information.

E-Health offers also great opportunities in Social Services. For instance; we are currently supporting the local authorities in developing user-friendly, technical solutions to increase the communication between clients and staff in social care for children and young persons. This will ensure more accurate course of action in these often difficult cases.

Looking forward, I am sure that new digital solutions within our social services can help improve the service given. Though we have to take into account that the solutions must be user-friendly and flexible enough to meet the needs of different groups of people. Sometimes those groups are savvy-tech kids, and sometimes not so-savvy-tech grandfathers in need of elderly care.

We are currently working on action plans to put this vision into practice. It is a joint commitment between the government and the local authorities. At the same time, considerable work is being done at national, regional and local levels in Sweden.

Both Swedish and international companies are taking part in this effort – offering their competence and their solutions.

An example of this an EU-initiated project in Hudiksvall municipality where a number of homes for elderly has been equipped with specially configured tablet for video communication. Healthcare personnel communicate through the tablet via moving image as an alternative to house visits. The provider of the technical solution is a Swedish company called nWise AB from Uppsala.

The best results are often achieved when we work together. This is true at both national and international levels.

This delegation trip and this visit are being conducted with that as a guiding principle.

Together we are here to learn from your experiences but hopefully also to share some of ours.

The private sector has always been a driver for development and we are looking forward to meeting companies, and also care givers and researchers, here in Germany that can stimulate and give us new ideas that we can use when we come back to Sweden.

Sweden and Swedish companies have much to share. But we also have much to learn. And that is why we are here.

Thank you.