Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Denmark funds five telemedicine projects

Steve Rogerson
October 6, 2015
 
The Danish government is spending about DKK22m funding five projects aimed at testing telemedicine on new groups of patients in Denmark.
 
Will rehabilitation at home, aided by software and sensors, increase the motivation of patients? Could young diabetics benefit from an app when trying to control their blood glucose, and thereby gain a higher degree of freedom in their lives? These are some of the questions that new projects funded by the Danish Public Welfare Technology Fund seek to answer.
 
The Danish government, local government in Denmark and Danish regions have come together in promoting the Strategy for Digital Welfare. Wound assessment through telemedicine is already being implemented across Denmark. Thus, the government feels now is the time to test and evaluate new telemedicine ideas. The evaluation includes questions such as how do the costs compare to the costs of traditional methods and how will healthcare personnel work when consultations are done through a video feed.
 
To answer these questions, funds have been allocated so municipalities and regions may execute and evaluate projects testing telemedicine on new groups of patients. Five projects have received funding, and they will run from 2015 to 2018. If the results are positive in regards to patient welfare and public expenditure, they may be implemented across Denmark.
 
The five projects are: rehabilitation at home to free up resources; an app to help young diabetics master their condition; home monitoring of heart patients; virtual clinic to improve quality of life with fewer resources; and home monitoring to prevent acute hospitalisations of senior medical patients.
 
Danish municipalities face an aging population in coming years, which means fewer resources per citizen. The rehabilitation at home project aims to demonstrate how digitally supported rehabilitation of selected groups may free up resources. In addition to this, the project aims to secure tailored and intensive treatment plans for citizens, to be preventive and hopefully reduce the number of re-hospitalisations. Training equipment and software from selected suppliers will facilitate rehabilitation in the citizens’ own home in a flexible way. This way, citizens may actively engage in their own rehabilitation as and when it fits their own schedule.
 
The project participants are the Capital Region, Frederikssund Municipality, Gribskov Municipality and Hillerød Municipality.
 
With all the pressures of being young and active, young diabetics struggle to manage their chronic illness in a satisfactory manner. The Young with Diabetes Project will evaluate an app for type one diabetics. The app is a way of helping patients living with a chronic illness. Among other features is a mentorship programme for the patients, as well as a direct link to the relevant hospital and healthcare personnel. The overall goal is to help young diabetics master their condition and, in particular, improve their long-term blood glucose and quality of life.
 
Project participants are the Capital Region and Region Zealand.
 
More and more people suffer from heart problems and in the past 15 years the number of hospitalisations has doubled. Through systematic home monitoring, the next project aims to detect deteriorations in the condition of patients at an earlier stage to reduce the number of hospitalisations and time spent in the doctor’s office.
 
Project participants are the North Denmark Region and all 11 municipalities in the region.
 
In endocrinological clinics, diabetics and patients suffering from metabolic diseases or lime diseases such as osteoporosis are treated. This group of patients is expected to increase in coming years. By doing 20,000 consultations through a video feed instead of actual visits to the clinics, a project aims to free up resources for the growing number of patients.
 
Project participants are two endocrinological clinics in southern Denmark and the region of Zealand.
 
Senior citizens face an increased risk of illnesses requiring hospitalisation. In as little as 20 years the number of citizens aged over 80 in Denmark will have doubled. Through video-consultations between citizens and their general practitioners, supported by equipment for monitoring blood pressure and heart rate, the project aims to strengthen the basis for decisions on whether hospitalisation is required or treatment can be provided in ordinary clinics.
 
Project participants are the region of Southern Denmark and Svendborg municipality.