By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

First posted on HealthInnovationMedia.com 12/19/2013

One of the first keynote speakers scheduled on stage at mhealth Summit TV was the Danish Minister for Health and Prevention, 31 year old Astrid Krag aka @astridkrag.

Her gentle voice did not mask an exceptional grasp of the mhealth industry nor profoundly on point commentary on the relevance of the Danish experience to both global and U.S. markets seeking sustainability or as locally branded ‘the triple aim’.

For those not tracking with the ambitious Danish experiment to leverage technology – specifically telemedicine – to restructure their community based and selectively ‘inefficient’ hospital centric delivery system see: ‘Restructuring & modernizing the hospital sector’,  ‘Potential gains from hospital mergers in Denmark‘ or ‘Widespread Adoption of InformationTechnology in Primary Care Physician Offices in Denmark: A Case Study.’

Some have suggested the reduction in Danish hospital capacity in their 5 state regions is from 155 to 51. No matter what, the emphasis on ‘super hospitals’, evidence based medicine and extensive use of telemedicine is a strong investment in patient, or better yet, ‘person centered’ healthcare.

Some notable quotes from Minister Krag include:

‘we’re undergoing a big transformation of our healthcare system and in the future it will make no sense to talk about health care delivery because you will not have passive patients, you will have active, empowered patients…. we’ve already come quite a way with the paradigm shift, where both the healthcare professionals have to realize that active involved patients can comply better with treatment, can manage their own treatment, and can prevent re-admissions…’ and ‘…the professionals have to realize this, the patients have to be willing to take on this responsibility and of course the health care system has to be willing to support it…  we are in a process of transforming health care where we see shorter and shorter periods of inpatient stays, and we’re the lowest in the OECD.’

Dr Salber: ‘does that mean you’re getting rid of hospitals?’

‘…in the next decade we a spending a bit more than $7 billion in US dollars constructing 16 new super-hospitals as we call them, and just to put that in perspective, this is the biggest investment in Denmark since church construction in medieval times… so for us, this is big.’

‘so you can say the hospitals will be more centralized, they will be bigger – but they will have fewer beds… and 20% of the construction budget will be reserved for IT.’

‘the Danish Government has committed to saying patient empowerment needs to be the core principal and the backbone of our health care system…we need patients to feel more secure otherwise they will be bigger consumers of health care services and this will raise costs dramatically..’

‘we spend a bit more that half of what you spend [per capita], we have universal coverage, no-one is uncovered..’