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SUSTAINS – Support USers To Access INformation and Services – is a European project that aims at introducing secure online access to health data for Europeans. A total of 16 European regions from 11 countries are participating in the project, including the Region of Southern Denmark represented by Odense University Hospital (OUH).

At OUH the focus is on strengthening the dialogue between patient and hospital, first and foremost by giving patients access to adding information to their own electronic patient record, COSMIC.

The project has 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: Identifying the level and type of communication that is possible between health care professionals in the hospital and the citizen at home through COSMIC.
  • Phase 2: Developing the COSMIC-integrated web-solution for citizen access.
  • Phase 3: Preliminary tests and evaluation of the solution. Are the right functions available and do they work? Is it user-friendly in design, content and language? The preliminary tests will consist of giving 20 select patients access to the system to ‘test-drive’ the functionalities and give feedback.

In the course of August-September 2012 information about the wants and needs of clinicians has been collected. Subsequently a workshop was arranged with CGI, the provider of COSMIC, to discuss how the web-solution could and should be developed, after which CGI has started the development process.
Project status – January 2014

In the spring of 2013 the IT Board of the Region of Southern Denmark decided to implement a new version of the COSMIC EHR (version 7.5) during the spring of 2014. COSMIC 7.5 is the same EHR that is in use at the Akademiska Sjukhuset in Uppsala, Sweden which means that RSD can benefit from part of the solution that the County Council of Uppsala has developed as a part of the SUSTAINS project. Through a close dialogue with both the County Council of Uppsala and the EHR provider CGI, it was decided that RSD can use the COSMIC Connect Patient Services (CCPS) from Uppsala, whose functionality is:

  • Patients can update email address, phone number and relatives in the ‘patient card’ in the record
  • Patients can add comments to the medical record
  • Patients can create healthcare declaration to prepare for a consultation in the hospital

The citizens will access the services by Sundhed.dk, the national portal for health services. The services are avaliable via internet browser and authentication takes place through NemID, the national secure digital ID for online services.

In December 2013 the COSMIC Connect Patient Services (CCPS) was bought from Cambio. Unfortunately the IT Board of the Region of Southern Denmark has decided that 2014 will be used only to consolidate the current systems and functionalities, so no new services can be implemented to the EHR in the region until 2015.

To be able to implement the new services as quickly as possible in 2015 the plan for preparation in 2014 consists of the following:

  • Further development of the solution that will connect citizens and COSMIC EHR through the sundhed.dk portal.
  • Carry out a qualitative process in relation to the SUSTAINS questionnaire, where select test users (citizens and clinicians) will help improve the questionnaires that will ultimately be sent to citizens to evaluate the service. As a part of this process we will do a pilot test of sending the questionnaires electronically to patients through SurveyXact to get feedback from them on both content and layout.
  • Advance and refine the user interface of sundhed.dk in collaboration with both sundhed.dk and citizen representatives.

Collaborating partners
The SUSTAINS project has involved various partners to include as many perspectives as possible in the development of the COSMIC portal for citizens.

Clinicians: Contribute with their knowledge and experience in interaction between patients, patient relatives/networks and health professionals, as well as their experience with the EHR.

Patients: To ensure that the solutions is useful for patients, development consultant Mette Mollerup who has great knowledge about patients’ demands for communication with the health care sector, has been invited to participate in the early stages of the project. Patients will be included directly in the project at a later stage, when preliminary testing begins.

Sundhed.dk: OUH has established a collaboration with the national health portal Sundhed.dk, as part of a national framework called “IT support of patient empowerment”. The collaboration will ensure that knowledge is shared and that the national infrastructure can be re-used, as the COSMIC data is meant to be accessed through Sundhed.dk which citizens already know and have access to. This means that OUH will be the test bed for a future national solution.

CGI: The collaboration with CGI is essential for the development of the solution. They participated in the workshops with clinicians to learn about their demands for the system and be able to contribute with knowledge about the technical possibilities. Finally they will develop the technical solution.

The SUSTAINS project has a duration of 3 years (2012-2014) and is managed by project manager and EHR consultant Marianne Møller in the Department of Operational Excellence and IT at OUH. The Section for LEAN and Innovation at OUH contributes with knowledge and experience with working in European projects. The international project management lies with County Council of Uppsala.

The total project budget is 6,985 million € with 50% funding from EU. The budget for the OUH project is 624.000 €.

Marianne Moeller
Project Manager


SUSTAINS is funded by the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme by the European Community.

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