The Danish health care system has universal coverage and is primarily public funded and based on free and equal access to health care.
Health care in Denmark is based on two main principles:
- Free and equal access to public health care. This includes general and specialised practitioner services and all public hospital services. Private co-payment includes dentists and out-of-hospital medicines and aides.
- Universal coverage. All residents in Denmark are entitled to public health care benefits in kind.
The public health care system is organised in two main sectors: primary health care and the hospital sector.
The primary health care sector deals with general health problems and care and consists primarily of general practitioners, practising specialists, practising dentists, physiotherapists and home nursing.
The hospital sector deals with medical conditions that require specialised treatment, equipment and intensive care.
Health IT in Denmark
Denmark is widely recognized to be a world leader within health IT and digital care for the patient.
Denmark developed its first national strategy for health IT in 1996 and today:
- Electronic health records (EHR) have been available to all hospitals and general practice health records (GPs) in DK since 2009, 98% of GPs now use the full computerized physician order enter system, cutting down on inaccuracies and speeding up processing.
- The patient has access to own health data through an internet portal, which means that they are empowered to make decisions and own their data through this single access point to healthcare services, general and disease-specific information, national guidelines, etc.
- National IT infrastructure allows for referrals, discharge summaries, exchange of clinical data, prescriptions, tele-radiology services etc. all to be done online. High user penetration rate: 98% of DK GPs, all pharmacies and hospitals, 74% of specialists and 44% of local authorities.
- IT investments have already brought savings: At the new super hospital in Odense the average stay in hospital is 2.9 days (EU average of ~7 days ) and re-admission rates are in some cases down by more than 50%.
Super hospitals in Denmark
In the near future Denmark will have fewer, larger and more specialized hospitals and the use of health IT will be intensified and the logistics optimized.
The objective of the new hospital structure is to meet increasing demands to the public healthcare system and improve the quality of patient care, while public spending is reduced. To face this challenge the hospital structure is centralized in order to improve the degree of specialization and optimize the use of resources by gathering the treatments on fewer entities.
During the next 10-15 years five new super hospitals are built and eleven existing hospitals are renovated.
The hospitals are being developed and built in close cooperation with a range of relevant stakeholders, including international companies with specific know-how, not least within health IT and medical technology. Danish hospitals have been co-developing innovative health care solutions with the industry for many years. It is this approach which is now extended to a core methodology in a so-called intelligent hospital construction.