NEL – also in Germany !

After thorough preparations we have now started to translate the Norwegian Electronic Physicians Handbook (NEL) into German, and Norsk Helseinformatikk AS (NHI) establishes a daughter company in Germany.

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NEL in Germany

For almost two years NHI has had discussions and made plans for an establishment in Germany. Our main collaborator in Germany is the General Practice organization DEGAM (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeinmedizin und Familienmedizin). DEGAM has made a thorough assessment of different clinical decision support systems like NEL. Their conclusion: We want NEL, and we will contribute to make NEL a good German product.

The agreement of collaboration was signed the 16th of March under a simple ceremony in Frankfurt. It was signed by professor Ferdinand Gerlach, president of DEGAM, and professor Terje Johannessen, editor of NEL and managing director of Norsk Helseinformatikk AS.

NHI establishes a daughter company in Germany. The Swedish translation company Semantix has already started the translation. The ambition is to launch the German NEL in 2016.

Strenghten NEL and NHI.no

Besides in Norway, NEL is available in Denmark and Sweden. Germany will be the fourth country which has NEL. NHI.no is NEL’s public portal.

NHI has established a close collaboration between the three Scandinavian editorial teams. We exchange updates, revisions and new articles, and annually we have a joint Scandinavian editorial meeting. The Norwegian and Swedish editorial teams have monthly editorial meetings. Both in Norway, Sweden and Denmark our editorial teams have established a network of medical specialists, several hundreds in each country, who contribute to the quality assurance of our products. This has raised the quality of each country’s product to a higher level than each of us would have managed by our own.

The German editorial team has already signaled that they want to engage in this multinational editorial collaboration. This will give the entire organization a boost.

When signing the agreement in Frankfurt, professor Gerlach pointed out the need for a product like NEL in DEGAM’s strive to improve the quality of German General Practice.

We are proud!

Today NHI has 19 fulltime employees, but we are still a small company in Trondheim, Norway. The current achievement is for us a major triumph. Our customers are professionals with strong demands for their clinical tools. And they have to be in order to ensure their patients the best diagnostics and treatment. At its utmost it can mean life or death that the physician gets access to correct and updated knowledge from NEL in his or her management of the patient.

NEL is neither perfect nor complete, but our customers are satisfied. And the reception in other countries has been brilliant.

We feel this as a small industrial adventure. We have achieved the goals that the Norwegian Ministry of Health made for us. NHI and NEL has become a success.

The NEL history

The company Norsk Helseinformatikk AS was established in 1996. In 1997 NHI got a three year contract with the Norwegian Ministry of Health with the aim to develop a digital decision support system for general practitioners. At the same time NHI was included in the Ministry’s program for development of commercial companies within the health care sector.

NEL was launched in the spring of 1999. Until 2004 NEL was distributed on a CD, but since then NEL has been an online product. From the start NEL has been a subscription product, and physicians and other customers pay an annual fee.

When NEL started to be known, we got comments from hospital doctors who said that «NEL is just as important for us as it is for the general practitioners. We need a knowledge tool which helps us staying updated outside our own speciality.” When NEL was introduced in the hospitals, the nurses reacted: “We need NEL. We are the health care workers that talk to the patients! We need NEL’s patient informations and teaching material.” Since then the ambition has been to make a knowledge base in general medicine which most health care workers find useful.

NEL in Norway

Today more than 95% of all general practitioners in Norway subscribe to NEL, 25% of the hospitals and an increasing number of municipalities. Google Analytics show that there are more than 20.000 unique users and more than 200.000 page views per week, and more than 60.000 users and 800.000 page views per month. (Norway has 5 million inhabitants.)

NEL in Denmark

In 2008 the content of NEL was sold to the Danish Regions in Denmark. The first years the Danish physicians used the Norwegian articles, but in 2011 all the content was translated and adjusted to Danish health care. Lægehåndbogen is a national clinical tool in Denmark and is a part of the Danish Health Portal (Sundhed.dk). It is available for free for all Danish citizens – both lay people and professionals – and the traffic is accordingly significantly higher than in the Norwegian NEL.

NEL in Sweden

In Sweden NHI established a joint venture with Todays Medicine. Translation and adjustment of the articles started in the fall of 2011, and the Swedish NEL, Medibas, was launched in the spring of 2013. Like in Norway, Medibas is a subscription based product. Currently, 25% of all Swedish general practitioners subscribe to Medibas, and the traffic is increasing.