The project starts at the beginning of 2012 and runs for two years. Four hospitals in the Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden, in Danish) and the Central Denmark Region (Region Midtjylland, in Danish) are participating in the project with up to ten municipalities and a number of practitioners across the country. It will produce a database that records information on patients while they remain at home. Health professionals in all sectors will have access to patient data from their own computer and can quickly decide whether there is a need to adjust the patient's medication. The patients represent five different groups: COPD (emphysema), diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases and pregnant women with and without complications.
Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon said: "The project is part of the common public digital strategy and is a concrete example of the use of welfare technology, which brings benefits to both citizens and the public."
The project constitutes Denmark's largest investment in telemedicine, with the government providing almost 66 million DKK (€9 million approximately). Of this, 33.4 million DKK (€4.5 million approximately) comes from the Foundation for Welfare Technology (Fonden for Velfærdsteknologi, in Danish) while the Capital Region, Central Denmark Region and some smaller partners finance the rest.
The aim of telemedicine is to free up resources in health care, ensure a more intensive treatment and monitoring, and enable patients to avoid strenuous routine visits and hospitalisations. Several hospitals have already had good experiences with telemedicine. The project provides the opportunity to scale up these local experiences to the national level.
Health Minister Astrid Krag said: "There is no doubt that it is the way we should go. Patients are saved the trouble of going to hospital, and hospital beds are saved. With close telemedical supervision the professional hospital staff can detect early if the condition is worsening in a patient in their living room. It can prevent costly hospitalisations."