Speech by HRH the Crown Prince at Connected Health Symposium 2011 Boston

Offentliggjort torsdag d. 20. oktober 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here in Boston. It brings back a lot of wonderful memories from my time studying at Harvard University.

And it is no coincidence that we are here in Boston today, close to Harvard and other world-leading medical institutions. In order to successfully address the healthcare challenge it requires talent, science and innovation. And in no science are these ingredients more needed than in the science of life.

Striving to improve life sciences and health care is also the topic of the Connected Health Symposium. It is an honour for me to participate together with leaders who are dedicated to finding and developing better healthcare solutions for the benefit of patients worldwide. I want to thank the organisers for making this possible and would like to congratulate you on bringing so many professionals with this common goal together.

We live in times of tremendous and fast change. And even though the world has seen a number of financial challenges in recent years, we must not forget that through science, through innovation, through risk taking by entrepreneurs as well as established companies, progress in health care is made every day. This means that we on average live longer and with a much higher quality of life. This can partly be attributed to our ability to cure fatal diseases and decrease the effects of a number of chronic diseases.

The combination of more people demanding care and effective new treatments being available increases the need for health care systems to be more efficient. Better integration between hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and other care institutions are needed to provide better and more care.

A key element in the development of cost effectiveness is new intelligent care technology solutions. Denmark is one of the World leaders in developing IT systems for better care provision.

It is our goal to have patient information in Denmark securely available to all involved in the treatment process. This in turn ensures that citizens get the best possible diagnosis, treatment and care. Today, it is difficult to imagine the Danish healthcare sector without Health IT. Examples of IT being incorporated in Danish healthcare are Electronic Health Records, Intensive Care Unit communications, telemedicine and chronic disease management.

So how did we get there? Denmark is known for our welfare system, and for the public health insurance that covers all citizens. Our system strives to give every citizen the treatment that is needed at the right time. This is one of the core principles in the Danish welfare state.

Furthermore, Danish healthcare is less costly than US healthcare – on average Denmark spends half as much on healthcare per capita than the US with a life expectancy in Denmark being slightly higher than in the US.

Research and development is a high priority in Denmark. We invest heavily in research and development to keep our position as one of the most innovative nations in the world.

The combination of a taxpayer based system in which cost containment is demanded, together with demographic challenges, constitutes a need for being particularly innovative – and we are willing to take up this challenge. Denmark is a small country with the highest broadband penetration in the world and some of the fastest consumers in the world to adapt to and embrace new technologies.

Consequently, the healthcare infrastructure in Denmark provides an attractive test market for high-tech companies wanting to perfect their technology implementation, business models and introduction to the market.

Denmark has strong capabilities in development of software technology and strong traditions in design, aesthetics and functionality. Danish companies have developed their successful solutions based on this and in collaboration with doctors, nurses and patients. I am very pleased that some of these companies are represented here today at this symposium to demonstrate their innovative and game changing solutions.

The development of health IT in Denmark is at a world class standard and is well incorporated in the daily work of the healthcare sector. Denmark is recognized globally for high-quality and innovative healthcare solutions.

A few times every century man takes a giant leap through large scale innovations such as electricity, radiology or the internet. But most innovations are small steps that build on the findings of others. Like Newton said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

In 20 years from now, there is no doubt that health care through the use of IT and new technology will be completely different from what we know today.

We will have come much further in our ability to care for our sick and elderly and in the prevention of illnesses.

But the future does not start in 20 years. It starts right now. It is my hope that this symposium will generate new ideas and be a step forward in improving the lives of patients worldwide.

I wish you all a great symposium. Thank you for your attention.

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