DIPS breaking new ground


CEO Heidi Arnesen Austlid of IKT Norge deems DIPS ASA to be a Norwegian pioneer in health-related ICT innovation.

CEO Heidi Arnesen Austlid of IKT Norge deems DIPS ASA to be a Norwegian pioneer in health-related ICT innovation.

DIPS is a pioneering company that has enabled new Norwegian enterprises to emerge in the health sector. Breaking new ground is always difficult, and it's far from certain that those taking up the rear will immediately appreciate the work you've done. But DIPS must be given the credit for a lot of the new developments in the Norwegian health service today. DIPS is an enterprise that has really put eHealth on the map", says Austlid.

Austlid is the newly appointed head of IKT Norge, a union with more than 400 member enterprises. The organisation is engaged in political activity aimed at improving the framework conditions for the ICT industry, and in activities that enable customers and suppliers to meet. One example of the latter is the EHIN conference, eHealth in Norway, which IKT Norge helps to organise.

Heidi Arnesen Austlid IKT Norge
Heidi Arnesen Austlid, CEO of IKT Norge, believes Norway should work harder to export DIPS and other health technology.

Generous enterprise

Austlid has a lot of experience from IKT Norge, among other employers, and she has been impressed by the work of member enterprise DIPS ASA. One thing is all the integrations that have been made possible – at Oslo University Hospital alone, DIPS interacts with 200 different systems. She has also noted the generosity of the development method DIPS uses. DIPS uses open codes in the development of DIPS Arena, and Austlid recognises the opportunities this creates for other enterprises to follow suit and develop new innovative products and services for the hospitals.

The focus for all the enterprises must be on providing technology that improves user experiences on both sides of the system, by which I mean for the employees who use the software and for patients in their dealings with the health service.

Three of the four regional health authorities in Norway are, as we already know, customers of DIPS. IKT Norge emphasises that competition is important in all markets, but the organisation also has a different perspective on the market share DIPS has achieved.

Offer export support

- Norway is a very small market with respect to health ICT. We try to inspire all of our members to try their luck abroad. Norwegian technology is definitely ready for a global market. In an age when oil revenues are declining, good, secure health service technology is an export article with great potential. In countries such as New Zealand and the Netherlands, the state has recognised development enterprises that have reached a certain size, and said "we have a potential export article here", and have thus helped to get the product out into the world. Norway should export more of the technology developed here", Austlid points out.

Austlid recognises that DIPS is a large and important environment with a lot of knowledge and experience, and that it acts as a driving force in the industry.

We have never had as many technology entrepreneurs in health as we have now. I am constantly meeting new enterprises that are offering exciting and innovative products. 

Most of the Norwegian enterprises that develop technology for the health service are relatively small and specialised. That is why IKT Norge listened very attentively when the head of what became the new Directorate of eHealth in the New Year, Christine Bergland, announced that she wants to increase collaboration with business and industry. Bergland described the model she envisaged whereby she would invite players from business and industry to learn about current development needs, and then compete to find a solution. She was very clear on the point that the new directorate will specialise as an orderer and not as a developer of new services.

Good sign

- We have been very critical of the public sector building up its own development departments to compete with the private business sector, so this was a very good sign,' Austlid comments.

IKT Norge has dedicated resources and a separate eHealth forum that keeps a close eye on developments in the eHealth field.

- Those who succeed in developing ICT in the health service are the ones who think "me". Taken to its logical conclusion, public health players may lose in the competition because they are unable to focus on the patient. It is madness that the public health service still leaves the job of passing on information between doctors, hospitals and treatment levels up to the patient – a person who may well be in a very vulnerable state in that situation. We talk a lot about the errors that occur because of technology, but we don't talk much about all the errors that occur because of a lack of technology. If the minister of health was held accountable for all of these deaths, the process of getting the public health service to catch up with the rest of the country would be much quicker,' says the head of IKT Norge.

IKT Norge

IKT Norge represents more than 400 different ICT enterprises, and functions as the industry's common mouthpiece. IKT Norge works to:

  • Expand the market and remove obstacles for its members
  • Increase value creation in the industry
  • Help with internationalisation and capitalisation
  • Help reduce members' risk exposure
  • Boost R&D cooperation, access to funding and consortiums