World Expo: Health technology for everyone

01.02.22 | News
Expo 2020
Mikael Carboni Kelk
In order to have all citizens on board with the digital transition, investments must be made in digital health and social services, which can also reach sparsely populated areas. That was the main message that the Nordic Region brought to today’s debate in the Swedish pavilion at the Expo – World Exhibition.

It’s Health Week at the Expo – World Exhibition. To this end, today in the Swedish pavilion the spotlight was cast on the results of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ project Integrated Healthcare and Care through Distance-spanning Solutions (iVOPD).  

“iVOPD contributes to achieving Our Vision 2030, not least when it comes to our ambitions to be a socially sustainable and competitive Nordic Region,” stated Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, in her digital greeting to the audience at the Expo and everyone who was following the event digitally. The results from iVOPD were addressed as part of a two-day programme in the Swedish pavilion which, among other things, also looks at the pandemic, antibiotic resistance and crisis preparedness. The Health Days were declared open by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who emphasised the importance of a healthy life for all.         

Health experts from the United Arab Emirates and the Nordic Region 

The background for the iVOPD project is the demographic shift in certain parts of the Nordic Region, and the fact that some citizens live in sparsely populated and remote areas with limited access to health and social care. In 2018, this prompted the Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers to launch iVOPD. The Centre for Rural Medicine in Sweden and the Nordic Welfare Centre have together been responsible for implementing the project. The results clarify the benefits of digitalising health care and the social services field. Project manager Niclas Forsling from the Centre for Rural Medicine touched on this in more detail during today’s debate with other health experts from the United Arab Emirates and the Nordic Region. 


Many benefits for the individual and for society

“The benefits can be seen from the individual perspective, whereby digitalised services can provide citizens from sparsely populated areas’ with largely the same access to health services as others, as well as increase everyone’s insight into their own health. At a societal level, this benefits the economy in those regions where houses are far apart. It can also help attract newcomers,” explained Niclas Forsling during the debate. He also emphasised that digitalisation benefits infrastructure and reduces physical transport, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. 

“Efforts to digitalise health care also have a positive effect on the climate,” Forsling claims.   


A few clicks via a computer instead of a long journey

The project sheds light on a number of best practices and insights from different areas in the Nordic Region. Examples that solve practical situations where include the ability for a doctor to see patients via a few clicks on the computer instead of having to make a long journey. Or technology that allows relatives to be digitally present with sick family members on a daily basis, in addition to their physical visits. 

“Another important point is that digitalisation also strengthens the authority of individuals and their insight into their own health,” points out project manager Bengt Andersson from the Nordic Welfare Center. In addition, digital solutions also make it easier for individuals to access their health data, which improves opportunities for self-determination and the sense of security that comes with it.