Minister of Health Bent Høie is tired of all the pilot projects

Minister of health, Bent Høie, visited the 37 °C Life Science Tech Conference on Tuesday, and met Håvard Bakke from Robot Norway.

Jostein Løvås



Minister of health, Bent Høie, believes that the Norwegian health care providers must soon embrace robots and information technology before the demographic wave of elderly people hit us with full force.

He is in the exhibition area at the health technology conference 37 °C in Stavanger and looks at a robot that Håvard Bakke from Robot Norway would like to sell to the health care providers.

Health Minister Bent Høie believes that the implementation of new technology in the health sector that he leads, must go much faster than today.

“I’m getting bored by all the pilot [project]s. I say that in the health service there are more pilots than in the airline companies Norwegian and SAS combined. The challenge is that there are very few of them that actually take off and fly because the health care sector is not able to adapt new technology and improve efficiency, “says Høie.

An example of a pilot project

For example, Høie refers to a pilot project in Stavanger, Oslo and Sarpsborg for the follow-up of chronically ill patients. One of the solutions is that chronically ill patients with lung disease are equipped with technology that allows for the patients to test themselves every day and that gives them feedback on their health conditions.

“It has led to a reduction in the use of hospitals and emergency services and home services of between 20 and 30 percent. It has improved the health of the patients. They say they have better health and better life. So it is a solution that both reduces the need for personnel and improves the health of the patients, “says Høie.

“Using this type of technology is not a pilot project anymore – it has been tested in a number of projects, showing positive results. I hope it will become the new norm.

Robots, not clammy hands

Some of the background for the conference here in Stavanger is that the oil city wants to grow in other sectors now as the oil industry is hit by crisis. Health is a priority area, something everyone from mayor Christine Sagen Helgø to top manager Tore Lærdal in Laerdal Medical talks about at the 37 °C conference in Stavanger Forum. Høie promises plenty of business opportunities for inventive oil technicians that will take on the healthcare industry.

“Yesterday’s solutions are not sustainable in terms of demographic development and disease development. It will require too many people. It is not possible to solve future health challenges in the same way as today, says Høie.

He believes robots for example can do routine tasks and give patients a sense of coping with life.