Long-serving experts write book about telemedicine’s history in the north

It started with simple consultations by telephone. Today, it is a jungle of advanced welfare technology. Two long-serving telemedicine experts have now written a book about the pioneering era in Tromsø, home of some of the earliest initiatives in applying and conducting research on telemedicine. 

Gunnar og Steinar
From left: Authors Gunnar Hartvigsen and Steinar Pedersen. Photo: Jarl-Stain Olsen/NST.

- “The telemedicine community in Tromsø is well known around the world for its pioneering work in telemedicine,” says Gunnar Hartvigsen, Professor of Medical Informatics  and one of the two authors of the book Lessons Learned from 25 Years with Telemedicine in Northern Norway.

- “Many people are not aware of the quality and the extent of the commitment to telemedicine in the north. Now we want to remedy that by gathering our experience between two covers.”

Tromsø environment one of the world’s largest

The first projects in Tromsø were related to various videoconferencing services.  Because the very first projects originated from the research department of the Norwegian telecommunications administration, Televerket, many of them were technologically advanced. Later, more and more of the activity has been transferred to asynchronous services such as secure e-mail and message-based applications. The telemedicine environment in Tromsø is now one of the world's largest.

- “What we've been good at up here is using telemedicine services in the clinical setting. While many players limited themselves to testing prototypes in controlled surroundings, our aim right from the start was that the services should be implemented in real-life surroundings and benefit patients and health staff,” says Hartvigsen.

Valuable experience

The book has been written to communicate to an international audience what we have achieved in northern Norway in telemedicine.

- “The book could be useful for everyone considering various telemedicine solutions, especially in areas with a scattered population and inadequate health services,” says Hartvigsen. The book has been written in English, so that experience from northern Norway can benefit people in other parts of the world where it is needed.

Lessons Learned from 25 Years with Telemedicine in Northern Norway

ISBN 978-82-8242-053-2.

Published by the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN) / the Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (NST). Free distribution of the book is available from telemed.no. Two versions of the pdf have been created with different resolution and file size:

The authors

  • Steinar Pedersen (the driving force for the establishment of NST, currently CEO of Tromsø Telemedicine Consult).
  • Gunnar Hartvigsen (Professor of Medical Informatics at the University of Tromsø, employed in a part-time post at NST since 2000.)