Health services in Norway
Norway as a country provides quality care services and an extensive social security network. An estimated 37% of the annual budget of the state of about 8% of the gross budget of the country is spent on healthcare. These estimates make Norway one of the European countries and the only Nordic country that has the highest level of health spending per capita. Just like in other societies, the healthcare sector in Norway faces some challenges. Its section of the GNP is substantial and increasing life expectancy, and low birth rates are forecasted to increase dramatically in the future. A specific problem is the low population density which is likely to make the residents travel long distances to get healthcare services.
For this reason, therefore, hospitals are looking for means to make healthcare more accessible to residents of Norway no matter where they are. Oslo University Hospital is one of the biggest hospitals in Norway. The Hospital has devised strategies of using digital and social marketing efforts to reach patients and to make healthcare services more affordable and convenient to patients. This paper will focus on Oslo University Hospital digital marketing strategy to see how the hospital makes services easier for patients.
One of the reasons why the Oslo University Hospital emphasizes telemedicine is to achieve equal healthcare services for all the patients in a country that has low population density as well as long distances of travel. Therefore the hospital has implemented telemedicine strategies to help solve the problems as stated. These strategies include videos, images, and sound recorded by the primary physician and passed on to a specialist. Examples of the services include dermatology, ENT conditions, stethoscopy, and optic fundus examination for patients with diabetes (Thomas, 2014). Other services include telepathology, teleradiology, and video conferencing for psychiatric and cancer patients.
Electronic information exchange
The Oslo University Hospital has given the structured information exchange through electronic messaging a priority for over ten years. The electronic messages cover various applications such as discharge letters, referrals, requests for results from medical services such as labs and radiology, transferring HER reports, and reports to authorities, among others (Persson, Stirna, and Aggestam, 2018). As the hospital implements the communication infrastructure, the different communication processes departments continue to execute apps, and the amount of electronic messaging continues to improve rapidly (Charlesworth, 2014). In an assessment of the hospital from 2014, it was found that the volume of electronic referrals has risen substantially in the hospital during the past year.
Another section in the hospital where electronic communication between the actors and the hospital is essential is in radiology. Oslo University Hospital has a long tradition of telemedicine, and as a pioneer hospital, it started with the technology of teleradiology services over 13 years ago. The hospital uses teleradiology in emergency consultations, to get second opinions, and for consultations between primary health care and the hospital. Digital X-ray services are a significant part of investment within the healthcare facility. Every year, about 100,000 X-ray exams are done, and every review produces numerous pictures (Persson, Stirna, and Aggestam, 2018). The vast amount of X-rays and exams make the system better and faster as compared to paper copies. The hospital has already installed Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), and it is planning to improve on the services as technology continues to advance (Thomas, 2014). Greater emphasis is placed on transmitting digital images between the hospital via the Norwegian Health Net, and this allows second opinions and collaborations and also increased availability of logical operation and radiology services. The hospital requires standardization to communicate with the different hospital systems, and therefore management has suggested that all health organizational development be supported. The PACS project also entails organizational development to release cost-benefits analysis, security aspects, and even benefits.
Care for the elderly in the homes as well as other groups in need of health care is at present going through IT development. IT development in this sector plays a very significant role, and therefore the Oslo University Hospital is making grand developments within this field. These developments include systems that can communicate with the hospital as well as other organizations in the health sector field and mobile phones and computers that make communication possible while in the field without the real need to go in to the office (Wang, Kung, and Byrd, 2018). The hospital is partnering with several organizations that also deal with these issues. For example, it has partnered with the Comfort Zone for Elderly an organization that focuses on offering home-based services for the elderly (Persson, Stirna, and Aggestam, 2018). The hospital has also partnered with the Smart-Home Technology which is an organization that studies the methods of Smart Home Technologies in to Norwegian Municipalities to teach municipalities how to get success and what obstacles they should avoid when using this technology. The primary goal of these partnerships is to create a full package of care for the elderly in the country while in their own homes to establish proper infrastructure in their private homes and public health services and institutions.
IT for groups at risk for social exclusion
For CSR, the hospital has promised new IT strategies to provide opportunities for social inclusion. These new systems are said to have the ability to overcome longtime barriers that cause immobility, knowledge resources, and distance. The services can also help generate new opportunities and services for the disadvantaged and those in search of employment or at risk in the employment market (Luftman, Papp, and Brier, 2015). On the other hand, the hospital is also aware of the dangers that IT can bring such as exclusion, but the hospital can prevent this i. The hospital is aware that digital literacy and access to the internet are essential for sustaining employability as well as adaptability, and also for benefiting from social and economic advantages of online services and content.
EHR – the core of patient information
The Norwegian legislation requires that every health care facility has to keep safe its patient record. This can be in digital form, and this information is only to be transferred to service providers on special request. The Oslo University Hospital has abided by this legislation and has implemented electronic records for its patients. The files should be secure as pertains to the legislation standards, and patients records are not released to anyone apart from the patient. All confidential information stays on password protected computers (Luftman, Papp, and Brier, 2015). The hospital has put in place security regulations and procedures that require staff not to share passwords, and to turn on and adequately configure security details of the electronic health record systems (Persson, Stirna, and Aggestam, 2018). The hospital has also put in place security risk assessments as required by the department of health. The security assessments are performed annually to meet the stipulated criteria of the use of EHR.
IT for communication in health-care
The Oslo University Hospital is at the forefront of using eHealth applications. The hospital has initiated the ELIN project aimed at providing uninterrupted GPs services all over the country. Furthermore, the hospital uses the video conferencing service to achieve effective care within the hospital and with patients outside the hospital who might require healthcare services. One example of such a project is the implementation of the telepsychiatric tool. Using the video conferencing as a technique, psychologists and psychiatrists in the hospital can be able to evaluate the condition of a patient before, during, and after hospitalization and also perform any necessary corrections to patients’ treatments (Persson, Stirna, and Aggestam, 2018). The hospital also uses automatic supportive tools that have one of the telemedicine applications that help to ease everyday situations of those with chronic illnesses. The hospital is also running a project that includes an automatic and wireless transfer of data for blood glucose especially for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The hospital also has plans underway to provide citizens and health personnel with web-based health information. It will first offer users access to medical databases such as clinical evidence and Cochrane as well as to medical documents and publications.
IT for health, care and social services
The Hospital of Oslo University is aware that IT in social services and health has the possibility of improving people’s welfare and also enhance the efficiency of health systems. Various forces drive IT in these sectors. One of the most significant ones is the increasing demand for hospital efficiency, patient outcomes, and patient satisfaction. This demand gets even higher when patients get older and age begins to catch up with them, and their finances begin to get limited. Another force that drives IT is the need for personalized care and treatment. Care in the groups mentioned above is rapidly increasing and this will significantly increase the demand for IT services. For this reason, the hospital has implemented IT in the home and community care that is guaranteed to provide users with more efficient services at the comfort of their homes in the coming few years.
Social media for marketing
Oslo University Hospital is aware of the importance of social media when it comes to health services. With the growing number of internet users, many users are seeking medical information online and especially from social networks. For this reason, therefore, the hospital has developed a website page where all patients can ask questions, post reviews, and ask questions directly to doctors (Courtney, 2013). On the website, patients can also learn about the hospital services and other services and can directly contact the hospital for any function whether home-based care or in-hospital care. The hospital is also active on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and their patients, or their fans can post to ask the question, give recommendations, or ask a question privately on their inboxes or DMs. The hospital also uses social media platforms to raise awareness about illnesses or medical campaigns to keep their patients updated and aware.
Charlesworth, A. (2014). Digital marketing: A practical approach. Routledge.
Courtney, K. (2013). The use of social media in healthcare: organizational, clinical, and patient perspectives. Enabling health and healthcare through ICT: available, tailored and closer, 183, 244.
Luftman, J., Papp, R., & Brier, T. (2015). Enablers and inhibitors of business-IT alignment. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 1(1), 11.
Persson, A., Stirna, J., & Aggestam, L. (2018). How to disseminate professional knowledge in healthcare: The case of Oslo University Hospital. Journal of Cases on Information Technology (JCIT), 10(4), 41-64.
Thomas, R. K. (2014). Marketing Healthcare Services. Chicago: Health Administration Press.
Wang, Y., Kung, L., & Byrd, T. A. (2018). Big data analytics: Understanding its capabilities and potential benefits for healthcare organizations. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 126, 3-13.
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