Working Paper No. 1238

Telemedicine and the Welfare State: The Swedish Experience

Published: October 9, 2018Pages: 24Keywords: Primary health care; Telemedicine; Welfare state; Digitalization; Privatization; Outsourcing.JEL-codes: H75; I11; I18

Telemedicine and the Welfare State: The Swedish Experience Mårten Blix and Johanna Jeansson


Sweden combines a vibrant market economy with a large public sector. This combination of public and private also characterizes the country’s comprehensive tax-financed welfare services. More than one-third of primary health care is today produced in the private sector. This substantial share has broad implications for how digitalization reshapes those welfare services.

In this paper, we focus on how telemedicine is set to transform primary health care in Sweden, where doctors have been available via video calls on smartphone apps since 2016. The novel element in Swedish health care is that the doctors are available as a public welfare service but by private providers. With some exceptions, patients pay a small fee, but most of the cost is borne by the tax-payers.

While the benefits of telemedicine are many – such as easier access to doctors and a reduction of non-essential travel – the downside for public finances is that the demand for care, and hence costs, may increase dramatically. As telemedicine becomes more popular, the tensions in regards to financing and regulation are already in evidence and look set to rise further. We outline steps that could better integrate telemedicine into the health care system.

Global index of the sharing economy

Timbro SEI

2018 Bergh Funcke Wernberg - Timbro Sharing Economy Index-1fHemsidan.jpg

Andreas Bergh, IFN and Lund University, is one of the authors of this book. The Timbro Sharing Economy Index is the first global index of the sharing economy. The index has been compiled using traffic volume data and scraped data, and provides a unique insight into the driving factors behind the peer-to-peer economy.

About the book

Events

Seminars organized by IFN

 

To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se