Denmark: Healthcare system and eHealth strategy

Basic Data

• 43.094 square km
• 5,6 mio. inhabitants


Healthcare system

The healthcare system is financed through income tax and treatment is therefore free of charge at hospitals, GPs and specialists. All citizens have a national health insurance card and this card is at the same time the public identity card, at the card must be presented at all visits in the healthcare system.

The citizens have to pay a part of the treatment from dentists, physiotherapists and psychologists themselves. If the hospitals, GPs or specialists order medicine on descript, the citizens must pay a part of the medicine themselves. This happens automatically at the pharmacy.

Healthcare organization

Denmark is divided into five regions. Each region is in charge of running hospitals and (through collective agreements) managing the general practitioner system.

The hospital sector is responsible for specialised examinations as well as treatment and care of somatic and mental illnesses. A GP will refer patients to a hospital or to a specialist for specialised treatment.

Healthcare insurance system

Apart from the public healthcare system, Denmark has a number of private hospitals and health clinics where you pay for treatment. The public health system has waiting lists for certain kinds of treatment, in which case you may choose a private hospital or clinic to avoid waiting for treatment. In some cases, the public healthcare system will pay.

Many Danes have health insurance that covers the expenses for using private healthcare services. The insurance covers services, which may mean that you in certain cases will be diagnosed more quickly or have certain kinds of surgery performed more quickly at a private hospital than the public hospital can offer. At a number of Danish workplaces, a health insurance is part of the employment contract and is paid by the employer.

In addition, you can choose to take out an insurance policy through the health mutual insurance company “danmark” (Sygeforsikringen “danmark”), which will reimburse you some of your medical expenses for glasses, dental treatment, medicine, etc.

Number of general practitioners, dentists and hospitals

  • In Denmark around 60 public hospitals with 21.000 beds,
  • 10 small private hospitals,
  • 3500 GPs,
  • 1000 specialists and 2700 dentists in 1650 clinics.

eHealth services already used

The Danish healthcare sector is characterised by a number of aspects that closely link IT to the provision of health and social care:

•Broadband penetration is the highest in Europe and more than 95% of the population have access to the Internet.
•All healthcare institutions and GPs have access to both the open and the secured Danish Health Data Network. All GPs have an electronic patient record system and use electronic communication and transactions extensively.
•About 15 different electronic patient record systems are interoperable in the GP sector and four different homecare records are used in the municipalities. Through a consensus process with vendors of almost 100 systems, all patient management systems for hospitals, GPs, homecare and pharmacies have incorporated the messaging system after special certification.
•A unique personal identifier is issued to all Danish citizens at birth, and a secure web-ID (called NemID) is issued free of charge. The web-ID is used to access netbanking and to access public sites with eServices. One of the eServices is the access to the eJournal at, where every Dane can read his/her own electronical patient files from the healthcare system.
•Shared Medication Record for all citizens with access for all parts of the healthcare sector.
•eHealth including telemedicine is implemented in municipal, regional and national collaboration. One example is the TeleCare North project in North Denmark, where every COPD-patient is linked to their own nurses and doctors with a tablet. The system will be used all over Denmark during the next years and it will be developed to be used in other chronical patient groups.