The Nordic E-health Model


The Nordic countries rank at the top of a series of indexes of the world's most successful societies. Public access to high quality healthcare is one of the pillars of the Nordic societal model, and digitalization is one of the most important ongoing transition processes in the Nordic health sectors. To succeed at digitalization, one needs knowledge of the social context in which digitalization takes place. Nordic societies have a number of common features - often referred to as the Nordic societal model - which form an essential part of this social context.

In this project, we will start from the Nordic societal model and produce new social science knowledge about

  1. how the Nordic societal model affects the development in the field of e-health in the Nordic countries, and
  2. how developments in the field of e-health affects the Nordic societal model by creating new conditions for problem solving through the welfare state.

Our hypothesis is that the Nordic model, which is so thoroughly elucidated elsewhere in the social science literature, can also be seen in how the Nordic countries handle the transition to a digitized health and care sector. We contend that social science-based knowledge of these peculiarities is necessary if the Nordic countries are to maintain their, on an international scale, uniquely well-functioning public health sectors.

The project is linked to a previous project Nordic Health 2030 - Towards Preventive Health where the center participated by virtue of its role as a WHO collaboration center. The aim of this project was to contribute with various future scenarios about the development of health in the Nordic region. Five workshops were conducted at various locations in the Nordic region with participants from both the public and private sectors. The last workshop was conducted in UN City in Copenhagen. The plan is to present the scenarios at the WHO Euro conference in 2021. The project was led by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, a partner in the Nordic E-health Model.


The project will gather, produce, and disseminate social science knowledge about what characterizes the Nordic societies' transition to a digitized health and care sector. We should be able to say what characterizes the Nordic e-health model, compared to both e-health within other societal models and compared to the Nordic pre-digital health model. We should also be able to give recommendations with practical significance for digital transformation in the Nordic countries' health and care sectors.


The project will conduct systematic reviews as well as carry out empirical analyses in the form of both quantitative and qualitative document analyses, as well as qualitative interviews. We will also establish an internal social science forum and organize workshops to develop knowledge, identify knowledge needs, and develop new projects.


There is a widespread consensus that e-health is about more than technology. Some of the transformative capability within the field of e-health in the Nordic region must be understood with reference to social conditions deriving from the Nordic societal model. To fully grasp this connection, social science is necessary, and this project will highlight social science knowledge contributions as fundamental to a knowledge-based development in the field of e-health.