A Critical Analysis of the Digitization of Healthcare Communication in the EU: A Comparison of Italy, Finland, Norway, and Spain

Robert Wallace Vaagan, Sinikka Torkkola, Anna Sendra, Jordi Farré, Alessandro Lovari


This article provides a critical analysis of the digitization of healthcare communication in Italy, Finland, Norway, and Spain. Particularly, we focus on organizational communication and interactions among institutions, providers, and patients. A qualitative content analysis was conducted on data collected between January and May 2019 from (a) documents and policies and (b) interviews in each country with health-related key experts. Results indicate that Finland and Norway are closer than Italy and Spain to the EU discourse concerning the digitization of healthcare communication. Despite what we see as two roads of innovation, all four countries share problems such as the transition toward patient-centered care and the standardization of e-services at different levels. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these practices since March 2020, this article suggests that European digitization of healthcare is undergoing rapid change that warrants broader analysis.


EU, digitization, healthcare communication, patient-centered care, COVID-19 pandemic

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