Health care and care with distance-spanning technologies, e-health and digitalisation

The Nordic countries face similar challenges regarding an ageing population and depopulation of the rural areas. This poses challenges to the traditional health care and care systems. One way of dealing with these challenges is to take advantage of digitalization and distance spanning technologies.

The project Healthcare and Care with Distance-spanning Technologies (Vård och omsorg på distans, or VOPD) aims at supporting the development of distance spanning digital solutions in health care and care in the Nordic Region. It was initiated by the Swedish chairmanship program of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2018 and runs until 2020. The objective is to survey the use of digital technology in health care to display best practice and analyse regional development effects.

The project has published 24 distance-spanning solutions for healthcare and social care. This publication contains the 24 most relevant digital solutions in healthcare and care in our five Nordic countries. What they have in common is that they are widespread; meaning that they are already implemented in many places, the solutions work and have a proven track record. Another distinguishing feature of these solutions is that they are a collection of different digital services that make a big difference, positive contribution, to many people daily life around the Nordic region. Nordregio is responsible for conducting case studies in the Nordic countries: Sogn og Fjordane and Luster kommune, East Iceland and Fjarðabyggð and Fljótsdalshéraði, Västerbotten and Storuman, Nord Denmark and Morsø Kommune, South Karelia and Lappeenranta.  More information is available at the project website:

The following categories of distance solutions in health care and care are included in the survey:
• Remote treatment – health care treatment provided from distance (incl. telemedicine, treatment and consultation via online tools and self-treatment)
• Remote monitoring – monitoring from distance (incl. sensors, cameras, reminders and data collection used mainly in social care)
• Remote meetings – meetings from distance (incl. meetings between professionals and those between citizens and professionals)
• New digital services for healthcare and social care. This category involves finding new innovative solutions.

Nordregio’s role in the project is to analyse the use distance spanning technology in health care and care from a regional development perspective. Accessibility, rural perspectives and cross-border perspectives will be considered in particular.

The Centre for Rural Medicine in the Swedish region of Västerbotten is leading the project, and Nordic Welfare Center and Nordregio are partners.

Healthcare and care with distance – What are the challenges regarding demographic development

Health care and care with distance spanning technologies – Competence provision and organisation

This is a small project closely related to the Swedish chairmanship priority project ‘Health care and care with distance-spanning technologies, e-health and digitalisation’. The objective of it is to analyse how an increase of digital solutions within health care and social care in Nordic rural areas affect skills and organisation of the health sector.

Nordregio is contributing to this small project by compiling results from the study within the priority project concerning skills and recruitment as well as the background knowledge and data from EKSOTE, Finland.

Nordregio participates in a reference group to the project, which secures a close cohesion with the work that is done within the priority project, where Nordregio is responsible for providing an accessibility study and a report on regional development effects.