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Nordic eHealth Indicators

Organisation of research, first results and the plan for the future

image of Nordic eHealth Indicators

The Nordic eHealth Research Network was established in 2012 as a forum for policy makers and researchers to jointly work towards measurable policy goals and data that can be exploited to steer decision making related to goals and their implementation. This report describes first results of the Network: eHealth policy analysis and first common Nordic eHealth indicators. The results show similarities and also some differences in the eHealth policies, priorities and implementation. Interesting similarities and differences in availability and use of eHealth services in the Nordic countries were found with the first comparable eHealth indicators. The results create a basis for Evidence-based policy making as well as benchmarking and learning best practices from each other.

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Methodology

Methodological issues related to indicator definition were among the first issues that the Network agreed on. It was regarded as important to define the methodology so as to make the work as transparent as possible. A methodology for defining eHealth indicators had been published recently by one of the Network members (Ref. no. 13). It was presented and discussed, and accepted as a starting point for the work. The methodology combines expert-led top-down and community-led bottom-up processes to define indicators. The top-down procedure is predominant in indicator work that focuses on defining measures for monitoring the implementation of policies and their impact on a societal level (e.g. economic growth, the main aim also in European level eHealth indicator work). This approach is expert-led and predominantly science-based. It has been used in e.g. OECD and EU eHealth indicator work, but without transparency of stakeholders and their goals. The bottom-up methodology is used especially in the fields where the aim is to monitor or assess policy or strategy implementation and impacts on the micro level – e.g. on the local environment. Indicators are tailored to the needs and resources of the end users or stakeholders, but still remain rooted firmly in the fundamental principles of the policy in question. The top-down and bottom-up indicator frameworks share four common phases, which were taken as the basis of the Nordic eHealth Research Network work plan:

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