Implementation of telemedicine services in rural areas – lessons learned and future perspectives

Gunnar Hartvigsen

Norwegian Centre of Integrated Care and Telemedicine, University Hospital of North Norway


This focuses on the implementation of telemedicine services in rural areas. This is done through a historical review of the pioneering activity in telemedicine in North Norway over the last 20 years and includes a presentation of the following telemedicine services: teleradiology, teleotorhinolaryngology, telepathology, teleophthalmology, teledermatology, telecardiology, teledialysis, teleobstetrics/prenatal telemedicine service, teleemergency service, teleoncology, telecare, teleodontology, telegeriatric, teleendocrinology/telediabetes, telepsychiatry, telemedicine solutions for patient empowerment, maritime telemedicine, videoconference versus messages and electronic communication in telemedicine services. In addition, the tutorial addresses: e-learning in medicine, reimbursement of telemedicine services, and international projects in telemedicine.
For each service, the tutorial will present problem, solution, and lessons learned. At the end of the tutorial, we will try to summarize what we have learned about telemedicine services, and try to look into the future of telemedicine services.


Learning objectives
Upon completion of the tutorial, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the role of telemedicine in health care service in general, and in specialist health care (in rural areas) in particular.
  2. Understand the role and impact of information technology in telemedicine.
  3. Understand the impact of the technology on patient empowerment, clinical outcomes, safety and quality of life in rural areas with basic health services only.
  4. Understand the design and implementation challenges associated with telemedicine systems.


Target audience
The target audience for this tutorial is clinicians and other healthcare workers; informatics researchers; government healthcare representatives and policy makers; master students and PhD candidates in health sciences, medical informatics and others who want to learn more about telemedicine in practice.


Prerequisite knowledge
No knowledge of telemedicine is required. General knowledge about specialist health care as well as use of ICT in health care is an advantage.