DEBATE: Martin Vik (to the left) Terje Gårdsmoen, Anders Føyen and Roar Vevelstad debating virtual healthcare.

Halden municipality share their experiences around virtual health

Virtual health solutions will play an important part in the future of healthcare. On Friday the 3rd of March, Halden municipality, in cooperation with eSmart Systems, presented Virtual Short Term Department to several public actors and other municipalities.

Halden aims to be among the leading innovative municipalities in Norway. eSmart System’s Connected Health is an innovative solution concerning health and welfare; Via the cloud-based platform, the solution can be connected to various welfare technology, monitor and act upon different alarm situations and create assignments and emergency calls to different agencies. Using various interfaces and applications, health workers can interact directly with the patient, both by voice call and video. Mayor Thor Edquist believes that involving both residents in the municipality, users, relatives, business partners, NGOs and employees, will promote innovation.

- Should we protect the past from the future, or the future from the past? Choosing not to adopt new technology, means choosing to fall behind and become obsolete. Only by constantly asking questions about why we work as we do, we can continue to develop in a sustainable way, says Edquist.

Real-time data and machine learning to provide unique insight

The first patients at the Virtual Short Term Department in Halden, could be welcomed before Christmas in 2016. VKA is a one year research and development project, which was initiated in March 2016, in cooperation with Halden municipality, Microsoft, NCE Smart Energy Markets, Østfold University College, Nordic Media Lab and eSmart Systems.

Connected Health can be part of the solution for Smart Cities called Connected City, a solution aiming to offer insight and decision making through the usage of indicators, predictions and real-time data from different segments of a city or a community. Via machine learning and advanced data analysis, this solution can provide unique insight. For example, the solution could predict air pollution in the morning, based on various parameters and data sources, and present this to the desired channel surface.

Such cooperation across professions, for example by using technology to improve healthcare services within the municipality could be considerably better, says council leader of communication and service, Martin Vik.

- An example is the connection between the usage patterns of water consumption, electricity consumption and medical monitoring for an inhabitant, which in turn can trigger an alarm situation and possibly an emergency situation, as this could indicate the citizen’s need of assistance, says Vik.

Another example is the automatic notification to vulnerable population groups, when the roads are slippery, or when the air quality is so poor that citizens are advised to stay inside for a given period.