About us

This website is part of a nordic priority project entitled Healthcare and care through distance-spanning solutions, 2018–2020 (VOPD).

About the project

The project is intended to improve the Nordic population’s accessibility to good healthcare and social care, wherever they live, and to create the conditions for development and growth throughout the country, not just around our major cities.

The project Healthcare and care through distance-spanning solutions, 2018–2020 (VOPD) was initiated as part of Sweden’s Presidency Programme for the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018, An inclusive, innovative and safe Nordic region.


With an ageing population and sparsely populated areas throughout the Nordic region, digitalisation and remote solutions are important prerequisites for maintaining the quality of the Nordic welfare model. The need for distance-spanning solutions for healthcare and social care will increase as regions and municipalities in the Nordic region’s sparsely populated areas often have strained economies.

The description of the assignment from the Government Offices of Sweden provides the following background to the priority project:

“All geographical areas are affected by a number of challenges such as demographics, service, housing, infrastructure, attractiveness, education and employment. It is important to take advantage of the potential that exists in the Nordic countries and to combat increased regional imbalance, as well as to promote economic growth, population development and service. There is a need for innovative service solutions and models to address demographic challenges based on the different conditions affecting regions and communities, particularly in rural areas. New ways of delivering welfare services is one approach. There are good opportunities for joint learning in this area, at a national, regional and local level. The focus is on the benefit to the Nordic region.”

Three main blocks

The main project consist of three main blocks:

  1. Mapping of distance-spanning solutions applied in the Nordic municipalities and regions.
  2. Identifying tools to support implementation of distance-spanning solutions in the Nordic municipalities and regions.
  3. Through the calls identify the Nordic municipalities and regions to provide support in their implementation of distance-spanning solutions. Tools identified in block 2 will be applied to provide support.

Open calls

The project expects to run two calls during the third block and between the calls it will assess the tools applied to support implementation of solutions. The tools will be developed and fine-tuned based on the outcome of the assessment. The ambition is to sharpen the tools, to provide higher quality and more efficient support for implementation of the new distance-spanning technologies for healthcare and social care.

Project management

The project is managed by the Centre for Rural Medicine – Region Västerbotten as the project Lead Partner with the responsibility of overall project coordination and specific activities towards the target group regions. Nordic Welfare Centre has the responsibility of specific activities towards the target group municipalities and their social service departments. The project focuses on developing the use of distance-spanning technologies by citizens in rural areas, which are scalable for use in larger regions and cities.

The Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat has also made the following additional investments: one project which specifically looks into the "Impact of competence provision and organisation of healthcare and social care services" under the lead of the Centre for Rural Medicine – Region Västerbotten. The other project "Bridging the Knowledge Gap between Distance Health & Social Care Solutions and Environmental Impacts: Via the Lens of SDG" under the lead of Stockholm Environment Institute. Both these projects deliver essential bricks connected to sustianbility perspective of digital transformation within healthcare and social care.


The subproject ”ePrescriptions across country borders” through The Swedish eHealth Agency will implement 2-3 pilots with the exchange of e-recipes across country borders involving the Nordic countries.

Nordregio is exploring the effects, obstacles, and potentials of applying digital solutions in healthcare and social care to regional development by making case studies in regions and municipalities in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is also conducting an in-depth study on accessibility to healthcare and welfare facilities.

In parallel to the Healthcare and care with distance-spanning solutions project, Nordregio is also responsible for Special edition to the State of the Nordic Region Report on Health, Wellbeing and Digitalisation.


Project activities

Final conference

The final conference of the project Healthcare and care through distance spanning solutions* (VOPD) was arranged on the 25th of march 2021. Here you will find the recorded sessions from the conference.


Call for Nordic design schools

OPEN UNTIL 10TH OF MARCH 2021. We are looking for a couple of Nordic design schools who can help us to illustrate how the future of healthcare and social care will look like by 2030 and beyond.


Second call outcome ­­­— 12 projects approved, 11 funded by VOPD

16 project applications were registered at the deadline for submission of Expression of Interest. 11 projects was approved and funded by VOPD at this second call for expert support for distance-spanning service implementation. A 12th project will actively be taking part through support by the Estonian government.


Expert support experiences, from call 1 distance-spanning service implementation

The objective of this activity is to implement, through expert support, distance-spanning solutions in regions and municipalities. Regions and municipalities will be selected through two open call procedures during spring 2019 and spring 2020, in total 10 Nordic municipalities and 10 Nordic regions.


Cross-border ePrescriptions – Interim report

This Interim report describes the current situation regarding cross-border ePrescriptions in the Nordic countries and on a European level.


Workshop in Reykjavik 20 september 2019

Healthcare and Care through Distance Spanning Solutions supported the development and took part in a workshop arranged by Samband (Icelandic association of local authorities) in Iceland. The objective of the workshop was to explore the potential of strategies and tools to secure a structured implementation of distance spanning solution within social sector in municipalities.


VOPD visiting Eksote in Lappeenranta Finland

One of the most sophisticated healthcare and social care service model systems in the Nordic countries exists in South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote). Under the lead of Merja Tepponen, Chief Development Officer in Ekoste, we were introduced to their system which was an eye-opener to all of the participants at our visit.


Publication launched — 24 practical distance-spanning solutions for healthcare and social care

This publication contains the 24 most relevant digital solutions in healthcare and care in our five Nordic countries. What they have in common is that they are widespread; meaning that they are already implemented in many places, the solutions  work and have a proven track record. Another distinguishing feature of these solutions is that they are a collection of different digital services that make a big difference, positive contribution, to many people daily life around the Nordic region.


Mapping of national strategies and tools in the Nordics

Healthcare and care through distance spanning solutions 2018-2020 has made a mapping of all existing national strategies with connected tools to support structured implementation of distance spanning solutions within healthcare and social care.


VOPD and ePrescription at Nordic Councils Session 2019

Healthcare and care through distance spanning solutions 2018-2020 has a side project named ePrescripton across country boarders. The aim of the side project is to set up and design pilots demonstrating use of ePrescriptions in Sweden jointly with Finland and Estonia. In addition, the collaboration aims to promote that ePrescriptions across country boarders becomes an opportunity for all citizens in all Nordic countries.


Kick off conference, successfully conducted!

Nordic politicians, civil servants, experts and professionals from local, regional and national level came together at the 20th-21st of November 2018 for a lunch to lunch event to set the direction towards good and nearby care with the support of digital solutions.