There is a major push towards digitalization in the Nordic region and the healthcare sector is no exception. The Nordic Ministries responsible for healthcare run several large nationwide healthcare projects. I have experienced that the vendor industry challenge the digitalization approach because it limits opportunities offered by a wider healthcare ecosystem.
Industry growth through digitalization
Should Nordic Ministries aim at “end to end” system development of new nationwide healthcare systems or should the government enable industry development through a digitalization initiative? The first approach is may be more straightforward and traditional, but it will limit new industry initiatives, innovation and industry development. The latter approach represents greater uncertainty, but it will most probably enable innovation, creativity and industry growth.
The birth of connected patients
We believe that the Nordic Ministries should focus on architecture, principles, standards and governance. This should in turn be communicated to a competitive and creative market of established companies and entrepreneurs. The exponential growth of data enabled by personal wearables with sensor technologies, networks and the processing power technology will give birth to the connected patient. Confidential information about patients must be analyzed and shared within a trusted network of healthcare professionals in order for digitalization to work, and the Nordic Ministries should facilitate a platform for connected patients.
Automation through analytics
One central component in an architecture that enables digitalization is analytics. Analytics enables the power to know which in turn enables correct decisions. I argue that analytics is the most important component for digitalization to work because analytics and analytical models enables process automation. With automation comes efficiency, speed and enormous savings compared to manual work. Analytics will increase patient safety because computers can process more variables than humans can. Some argue that it is unethical to rely only on doctors' opinions. These topics are to be addressed on our Health Analytics Conference taking place in Norway, September 2016.
Content is key
Content management was a hot topic some years ago within the media industry, and good content was key for companies and journalists to survive. This is no different in healthcare because good content about patients and the patients history is important for patients' treatments, research and industry development (equipment, procedures, medicine etc). The integrity of this information must be ensured and the information must be shared in a wide ecosystem of healthcare professionals. This requires a trusted platform, and the Nordic Ministries should have this focus when it comes to large healthcare investments.