Counteracting brain drain and professional isolation of health professionals in remote primary health care through tele-consultation and tele-mentoring to strengthen social conditions in remote BSR.

EU Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 (BSR INTERREG IVB),

2009-2012 (ongoing)


The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is confronted with an ageing population, which leads to a rising demand for primary health care (PHC) services. Moreover an increasing lack of health workers and medical doctors challenges the maintenance of PHC within the BSR.

Above all the brain drain of health professionals is affecting particularly remote areas in the whole BSR. There is evidence that professional isolation is a leading cause for this brain drain.

The overall aim of PrimCare IT is to raise the attractiveness of remote primary health care for medical professionals by the means of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring. Thereby the project counteracts brain drain and professional isolation in sparsely populated areas for more equal access to primary health care in the BSR.

A better deployment of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring including social media has strong potential to reduce professional isolation and to provide opportunities for professional networking, continuing medical education and career development for younger and experienced doctors and health workers in remote areas.

The partners analyse existing barriers for large scale deployment of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring such as technology acceptance, work flows, daily routines or legal uncertainties. They elaborate on strategic opportunities for better use of such tele-health to overcome brain drain of health professionals in remote primary care. They implement jointly developed tele-consultation and tele-mentoring solutions between health workers, general practitioners and medical specialists in pilot sites in FI, SE, LT, EE, LV, and BY preparing their large scale implementation.

The partnership involves health workers, medical doctors associations, hospitals, planning and financing authorities, regional development administrations, and eHealth research organisations. Thus, the consortium represents the relevant sectors in the implementing regions for successful goal achievement. PrimCare IT is part of the flagship projects ImPrim and ICT for Health. ImPrim focuses on financial incentives and professional development to attract health professionals to PHC. PrimCare IT complements this approach by elaborating on opportunities of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring. PrimCare IT reuses outputs from ICT for Health, i.e. education courses to raise eHealth acceptance of health professionals.

The project is developed under the umbrella of the eHealth for Regions network, which is appointed by the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) as a coordinator of eHealth actions within the EUSBSR. The strong link to NDPHS and eHealth for Regions network allows the effective dissemination of the project results and political awareness building among other at NDPHS Partnership Annual Conference, the NDPHS Committee of Senior Representatives, the relevant NDPHS Expert Group and eHealth for Regions Political Strategic Board.


Role: Applicant, BTH project leader, board member and WP leader.
Type: Research
Keywords: Distributed Collaborative Work, Knowledge Enabled Engineering, Product Development, Product-Service Systems, Team Based Collaboration, Health Technology
Application area: Applied Health Technology, Primary Healthcare
Time frame: 2012-2014
25 MSEK, EU Baltic Sea Region Programme
Research unit: Blekinge Institute of Technology

  • South Ostrobothnia Health Care District
  • Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
  • Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
  • Kauhava Primary Health Care District
  • eHealth Institute, Linnaeus University
  • Blekinge Institute of Technology
  • County Council of Västerbotten
  • Flensburg University of Applied Sciences
  • The Estonian Society of Family Doctors
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine of the Technomedicum of the Tallinn Technical University
  • Vilnius University Hospital Santariškiu Klinikos
  • Kaunas University of Technology
  • Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
  • State Educational Institution Belarusian Medical Academy of Post-Graduate Education
  • Ostrovec Central Regional Hospital
  • National Health Service

More info:


  • TBC