Norway: easier access to psychiatric health aid

The child and adolescent psychiatric department (BUPA) at the University Hospital of North Norway can finally celebrate. Now they can offer their young patients psychiatric treatment on Skype. Suddenly, the help is just a few keystrokes away.

Oda Kjærvik (in the middle) from the youth council at UNN made the official launch of the eCAP service at the Children and Youth Psychiatric Department at the University Hospital of North Norway. To the left: Section manager Lene Danielsen, and to the right: former Project manager Eirin Rødseth.

BUPA has developed a video conferencing based service for children and adolescents who need to talk to a therapist. The patient does not have to make long journeys to talk to a therapist anylonger. They can easily carry out treatment wherever they are, and also avoid being absent from school.

No more long journeys

‐ In some cases, treatment will take place only over Skype and video conferencing, while it will usually be combined with a face‐to‐face treatment. All services are developed in close cooperation with the children's families, primary health services, healthcare professionals, schools, child welfare and other clinics, explains Erlend Bønes, Project manager for eCAP Norway at the university hospital. For each patient, the service is adapted to meet the needs of the patient, relatives, as well as local therapists and other professionals.

‐ The goal is to make it easier and faster for patients to get in touch. Long journey can in worst case make a initially vulnerable patient even sicker, says Elin Breivik, who is the project leader of eCAP at the Norwegian Centre for E‐health Research.

Available technology

Elin Breivik explains how video conferencing in the conference room, for security reasons, for a long time was the only opportunity for communicating with patients. On the other side, the patient had to go to a video conferencing studio in his municipality where the equipment could be of different types and quality, often resulting in connection problems, delayed sound and image ‐ and various other challenges.

The breakthrough came this spring. Skype for Business was approved for health communication in the health region. Thus, the therapists can talk to the patients wherever they are. All that is needed is a computer with webcam and a room where the patient is sure that no unauthorized person can hear or see the conversation. And the therapist does not have to make any more effort than closing the office door. The BUPA administrators have installed Skype for business at their workstations. The technical threshold has been completely removed.

For further information, please contact: Erlend Bønes, Project manager, erlend.bones{at}