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The Norwegian information service "Fritt sykehusvalg Norge" (Free Hospital Choice Norway) supports the government's goal of facilitating patients' rights to choose where to receive treatment.

The Norwegian information service “Fritt sykehusvalg Norge” (Free Hospital Choice Norway) supports the government’s goal of facilitating patients’ rights to choose where to receive treatment. The service offers patients, next of kin and clinical personnel up to date quality information concerning patient’s rights, waiting times and quality information about the different hospitals, as well as other relevant information.

The purpose of the information service is:

  1. To empower Norwegian citizens. The information service provides users with easy access to information that will enable them to make a better-informed decision as to which hospital/institution to choose for different types of treatment.
  2. To contribute to a better utilization of the capacity of treatment with in the Norwegian healthcare services.
  3. To give health personnel and leaders an improved base of information on which to strive for improved treatment quality and to increase competition among state-run hospitals.

 

Background
The Norwegian government intends to improve the patient’s right to choose in which hospital to receive treatment. Their rights are described in The Patients' Rights Act. The objective of this Act is to give the population equal access to high quality health care by granting patients rights in their relations with the health service. The law decrees that a patient has the right to choose in which hospital or district psychiatric centre he/she is to be treated.

To better inform and help patients, their families and health personnel in regard to the patient’s free choice of hospital, the Norwegian Ministry of Health launched, on the 8th of May 2003, a unique information service on the Internet; “Free Hospital Choice”.

The information service was developed in close dialog with the patients advisors, who where already familiar with the needs of the patients and the clinical personnel. The service was developed to fill that need

In addition to the internet service, an existing telephone service was improved to support the peoples’ right of free choice of hospital. The Internet service is a website open 24 hours a day with up to date information. The telephone service, 800 41 004, is open all weekdays from 8.00 to 15.00. Patient advisors with extensive experience from the Health sector operate the service.

Content

The Internet service provides the following information and services:
  • Relevant information about public and private hospitals (those that have an agreement with public hospitals to perform selected treatments).
  • Comparison of waiting times for the selected hospitals on 139 different treatments. The Norwegian hospitals are responsible for delivering waiting times.
  • Relevant information about patient rights, laws, free choice of hospitals, relevant news, help in using the website, FAQ, and more.
  • Select and view quality indicators for each of the participating hospitals.
  • Administrators and patient advisors have access to online administration tools, which allows waiting times, quality indicators and other factors to be updated on a daily basis.
Patient advisors are located in the four health regions in Norway. The telephone service is scaleable. It  has a geographical routing feature so that patients always get an answer from a local advisor. This increases the quality of responses to frequent questions related to specific, local conditions. The telephone service is free of charge. It has separate phone numbers for patients and doctors. Doctors have higher priority access, as they may require a quick response while advising a patient.

 

For more information, please contact:

Norwegian Directorate for Health
Universitetsgata 2
Pb. 7000 St Olavs plass
0130 Oslo
NORWAY

Phone: +47 810 20 050
Email: postmottak@shdir.no

Sist endret 09.11.2010
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