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The Long Road from Potential to Realized Gains of Information Technology in Healthcare -- Experiences from Norway

IJED, Vol. 8 No. 3, (2006)

This paper deals with the contribution of information and communication technologies (herafter IT) in health to improve quality and efficiency in health care delivery. It also explores the technologies’ potential contribution to innovation and economic development in Norway. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of telemedicine and health IT in Norway. Using evidence from published studies this paper explores if the technologies have met the expectations and fulfilled the potential for improvement in health with focus on quality, efficiency and productivity improvement, highlighted with examples from Norway. In addition, this paper examines health IT ’s role in rural developm ent, innovation and economic activity in general. This paper argues that telemedicine and IT in health has been slow to diffuse and that documented gains from IT investments are still hard to find. This paper also shows that even if IT in health has been slow to diffuse, the existing IT-use has spurred some economic activity in both private and not-for-profit companies in addition to public service provision. A full-scale implementation of health IT and telemedicine may have a significant potential for innovation and economic development in Norway.

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