If you want to learn more about the RemoAge project and a chance to meet the project team and discuss the future of rural care services, this coming February 1-2 the RemoAge project is coming to the Arctic Light e-Health Conference, held in Luleå, Norrbotten, Sweden.

Arctic Light e-Health Conference 2017 is a captivating event uniting digital health professionals from across the globe in the arctic region of Norrbotten for two days of inspiration, networking and skill development.

Top-level politicians, digital health thought leaders, business innovators and e-Health professionals will meet to experience thought provoking keynotes on digital transformation. We are arranging ALEC for the fifth time in Norrbotten. Seize this opportunity to connect with peers to discuss digital’s potential to bridge health gaps, and develop tools to design better health for all.

If you, like us, are passionate about leading the digital health transformation, designing inclusive health services, and adopting disruptive technologies to create health equity, ALEC 2017 is your forum.

‘Winter is coming’, so plan a memorable Arctic experience by booking one of the 16 daily flights to Luleå today.

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On the 25th-26th of May, nearly 40 Remoage project members met up in the Arctic city of Tromsø to share their experiences and learnings from the successful first year of the RemoAge project.
Tromsø, which resides some 350 km north of the Arctic Circle and has a population over 70.000 is considered to be the Northernmost City in the world. As the Remoage Project is funded through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and all the pilotsites are located in extremely rural areas project members had to travel very far to participate, for some the trip took almost two days.

However once upon arriving in Tromsø we all felt like it was definitely worth it as the beautiful city greeted us with warm sunny weather and clear skies allowing us to experience the midnight sun in the breathtaking mountainous, fjord landscape. Although we very much appreciated this chance to experience the scenic settings and the warm hospitality of the people of Tromsø, the primary reason we all travelled so far was for an opportunity to learn from each other, discuss our experiences and gain inspiration from the ideas of others.

We had a jam packed Programme during our two days in Tromsø, with workshops, presentations, a public exhibition and many, many much valuable discussions between partners. While many partners know each other from the previous RemoDem project and most of us see each other every month in our monthly online meetings it became evident in Tromsø just how valuable these in person interactions are.

Firstly it meant that more people outside of regional project members could take part and share their very valuable hands on experience in implementing RemoAge services. Secondly the inspiring presentations made it obvious that we have so many more opportunities to learn from each other than we first thought. Thirdly the informal discussions enabled from the face to face meetings gave us an opportunity to better understand what synergies there are between pilot sites and also learn more aspects of the project that needs fine-tuning if we are going to reach the full potential this opportunity this opportunity have given us. Together we aim to enable healthier, more independent lives for our senior citizens, to develop a more sustainable health system in rural areas and contribute to more innovation in the regions business sectors.

I would also encourage everyone to keep track of the newsletter and remoage web the coming weeks as we have many interesting and inspiring articles and short movies about the project to be published. Finally I would like to give a big thanks to the team in Tromsø who arranged a great meeting for us. Also if you haven’t been already I highly recommend that you start planning a memorable trip to Tromsö today and get a chance to experience the astonishing environments and the wonderful people of Tromsø.

Written by Gustav Söderlund


Virtual Coordinated Individual Care Plan have been tested in the municipality of Gällivare, Northern Sweden. The aim is to reduce travel times for health care workers, allowing patients to remain in their own homes and provide opportunity for more stakeholders to participate.

Four virtual Coordinated Individual Care Plans have been conducted by staff from the municipality with elderly care managers, home care nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. From the health center has two doctors participated. On some occasions have also relatives participated.

The technique used is the webcam on the desktop computer, e-reader and external speakers, as well as the web-based video communication system, Polycom.

To perform the test, procedures for convening the virtual Coordinated Individual Care Plan have jointly been developed by the municipality and the health center. Technology has been installed and staff got an introduction of how to use the technology, quick reference guides and information about new routines.

– Based on the collected experiences of users and personnel we have so far only positive reactions. We have learned that there can be a lot of technology problems and needs of the break-in period before the pilot is running, says Anna-Lena Svalkvist, project manager at the municipality of Gällivare.

The patients have positive experiences of seeing the doctor on screen. It felt easier to communicate and express their wishes and needs compared with when the doctor previously participated via a speakerphone.

The staff have also experienced the virtual meetings positive. It is simple to get conneced, with good picture and sound, and they do not need to move between different locations to participate.

– We reduce driving time and fuel costs. More stakeholders can participate when the time to travel is reduced and that time can be used for other work. For the user's benefit, we can see that they do not have to travel to the health center and do not need to get visits from many different stakeholders in their homes, says Anna-Lena Svalkvist.

The transnational learning is an important part of the RemoAge project. Northern Sweden was recently visited by Kate Dawson, District Physician from the Western Isles, who wanted to take part of the work being done within the project.

– The project is dealing with issues I feel are very important to my own community, issues related to our rural and ageing population. I need to develop the resources within the medical community locally rather than waiting for something magically would happen, so that our patients would get the care that they need. I got intested in how the RemoAge project might help us do that and how other areas tackle the same issues, says Dr Kate Dawson.

Dr Kate Dawson is one of the most active GPs in the project. She is passionate about working with frail older people and how they can be supported on the basis of a comprehensive geriatric assessment and multi-professional collaboration.

During her visit, she shared her experience of identifying frail elderly people and how they work with multi-disciplinary teams to support these people.

Amongst other things, she in return took part of how Haparanda in northern Sweden uses video as a support in the home. Something that was completely new to her.

– We need something to overcome that time and travel barrier. It made me think a little bit more about how important it is to apply political pressure to resolve some of the connectivity issues. Just to show you can deliver better health care if you got better technology. And cheaper, says Dr Kate Dawson.

Dr Kate Dawson and Per-Olof Egnell, Operations Administrator on eHealth Innovation Centre at Luleå University of Technology, are discussing how to tackle the same issues. Photo: Stefan Sävenstedt

Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine, NST, has split up into two parts from 1 January 2016; one regional and one national part.

The national section has been named Norwegian Centre for E-health Research and will contribute to fulfill the national strategy for e-health.

The centre will:
• have a clear national and international role. The main tasks are research (formative evaluation, technology assessment and summary of knowledge) and research-based studies. -
• deliver a high academic standard and have scientists with high academic and international expertise.
• continue its long-standing cooperation with the WHO. The researchers have extensive experience of participation in EU projects and in international research networks.

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After the first year in the RemoAge project, Shetland has progressed from planning to implementation and the trial stage. The focus is to look at two areas of how technology can be implemented within the community to aid those who are at the greatest risk from social isolation and how this impacts upon their Health, Care and Social needs.

– We have two work streams planned, both using IPads as a platform for technology and both linking in to one another, says Clint Sentance, project member, Shetland Islands Council.

One work steam, WS1, is to look purely at applications where an IPad platform can provide a direct link for service delivery in Social Care applications. This model can then be used for much wider service delivery and remote access to services.

The other work steam, WS2, is to work alongside a voluntary care partnership in providing accessibility and support for those identifying as Frail Elderly and their carers. To provide pure Social applications and boost community resilience through Social contact and Technology, and encourage beneficial contact where communities and families may be dispersed through either geography or disability.

Progress has been made in identifying a Core Care partnership team from Isleshavn Care Services (Isle of Yell and Fetlar), and Nordealea Care Services (Isle of Unst), who will work as a project team in identifying, supporting, reviewing and providing the accessed service for WS1.

Within the next month the priority is to identify and resolve issues around connect ability to the telecoms network for those participants within the program who do not have a current connection.

– Within WS1 we estimate this to be the majority of participants. Within WS2 this potentially could be far more varied, says Clint Sentance.

As the WS’s are similar in the technology they use the location the client base reside within and potential sharing some of the core client base, where as WS2 clients can share there knowledge with WS1 clients and in the future may become a user evolving from social use in to service use. Therefore creating a consistent evolution and support mechanism within the community its self.

The nurse is with the patient in her home and she needs physical advice. She hooks up with the physiotherapist on videoconference. This is how a house call to a recently discharged patient can be carried out especially if the patient is referred to the patient-centered health care team at the University Hospital of North Norway.

– Good morning, Erna, it is nice to see you again! How is your shoulder? Can you show me how far you can stretch your arm? Could the nurse lift the iPad a bit so I can see you better?

This unique, interdisciplinary team is responsible for following up patients with chronic and/or complex conditions that are discharged from the hospital.

An entire team in your pocket

The patient-centered team is testing the iPad as a communication tool within the frames of the European project RemoAge.
– Initially, we planned for the iPad to be in the patient’s home, and that she should use it to call us. In the end, this was not how it happened. Many of the patients in this group are both cognitively and physically impaired thus the iPad was too complicated for them. That is why the iPad has become a communication tool mostly between health professionals, says Hege Mathisen, nurse in the patient-centered team.

– I have faced situations alone on house calls where I needed advice from a nurse or maybe the patient needed to talk to a doctor. In these situations, it is brilliant to have the iPad available so that help is just a keystroke away, says Monika Eriksen, physiotherapist of the team.

Invents new uses

The use of iPad has evolved naturally in the team, and the team members have figured out new ways to use it. For example by filming a situation in the patient’s home in order to get advice from colleagues when back in the office.
– This one time, for example, we needed physical advice so we filmed the patient while she walked up the stairs, but did not frame her head so that we would ensure patient privacy.
The physiotherapist made a video explaining how the patient should move not to get hurt, and the nurse who went on house call could show the film.

Elin Breivik, project leader for RemoAge at the Norwegian Centre for E-health Research praises the members of the patient-centered health care team:
– This enthusiastic bunch have found ways to use the iPad that we had not thought of when the project began. The aim of the project is to improve the flow of information and interaction within the team, with external healthcare professionals and patients, and we can already see that this is happening.

The research project Ethical reasoning and considerations in connection with the implementation of digital services in the health and social care in municipalities is conducted within the framework of RemoAge.

Two qualitative studies on health care with digital services are planned in five municipalities participating in RemoAge in northern Sweden.

One study is focusing on the staff perspectives and the other study on care receivers and their family member´s perspective.
Data collection is planned through semistructured diaries, focus group interviews and individual interviews. During week 5, 2016, the first diaries are assigned to local project managers in municipalities for the documentation of ethical reasoning and considerations made in connection with the digital services offered in health care.

Lecturer Britt-Marie Välivaara at Luleå University of Technology is responsible för data collection.

During the Autumn 2015, the project former leader Ingela Johansson has been working as a quality strategist at Luleå municipality, Sweden, but from January 1, 2016, she returns to the Norrbotten County Council.

Her new role at the County Council is business developer and it allows her to work again in the regional RemoAge project in Norrbotten with her colleague Marja-Leena Komulainen at the local authority associations of Norrbotten. They are responsible for leading and coordinating RemoAge in Norrbotten.
– I eagerly look forward to lead the regional RemoAge project and in the future take part of the experience that the introduction of welfare technology provides, says Ingela Johansson.
The Current project leader, Gustav Söderlund, will continue to work in the role of lead partner with the responsibility to lead and coordinate the entire RemoAge project.


Starting October 1st, Gustav Söderlund will take over as the lead partner Project Director from Ingela Johansson, who will move on to a new job in the Luleå Municipality, Norrbotten. Gustav Söderlund works as the E-health Strategic Officer at the Norrbotten County Council, Sweden. He has a background in product design, developing consumer electronic products in Europe and Asia, and holds an MSc in Ergonomic Design Engineering from Luleå University of Technology.

Gustav Söderlund will be responsible for coordination and project management of RemoAges transnational activities and collaboration.

– Even though I have not had an active part in the planning and startup phase of the RemoAge project I have had the opportunity to follow the progress from the inside. Thanks to Ingela and all the other project partners from Norway, Scotland, Shetland Isles, Sweden and Western Isles the project is very well prepared.  I am very excited for this opportunity to be part of this transnational group of specialists that has joined forces to find smart ways of using technology that enable frail older people to live independent and vibrant lives for a longer time.

Gustav Söderberg believes that the situation all our respective regions face today, with aging demographics and limited resources, is not only a problem, but also a fantastic opportunity.

– In the RemoAge project we can take advantage of our collective knowledge and different cultural perspectives, and utilize our creativity, dare ourselves to test unorthodox ideas and in the end, find innovative ways of using technology to enable us to provide quality health care no matter if you live in urban or rural areas.