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Norway EMS: Telehealth, educational requirements and future plans

This EMS One-Stop international edition features Steinar Olsen, director for EMS and national preparedness in the Norwegian Directorate of Health


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In the second EMS One-Stop international edition, Host Rob Lawrence welcomes Steinar Olsen, director for emergency medical services and national preparedness in the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Steiner describes the composition and deployment of EMS services across Norway – a country with the second largest coastline in the world and 1,100 miles from North to South (the distance from Seattle to San Diego or Chicago to Miami). Norway has one government/healthcare run system consisting of 400 stations, 520 ambulances, 4,500 EMTs and paramedics, aided by 14 helicopters and 12 fixed wing aircraft.

Educational requirements, current initiatives and future plans are discussed. Lawrence and Steiner also identify that EMS systems around the world encounter similar challenges, and international best practice exchange is always welcomed and encouraged.


“Looking at just response times – you can waste a lot of money that could be used wisely in other parts of the service to create more health.”

“Between 25-30% of calls are handled with just a phone call or a combination of phone and video conference with the patient.”

“EMS in the next 20 years will develop from just lights and sirens to being an advanced platform for performing healthcare in the patients’ home instead of moving them to the hospital.”


1:13: Introduction – Steinar Olsen

2:08: Description of EMS in Norway

4:05: Ambulance stations, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft

6:07: Paramedic training and education

7:17: EMS as a gateway to healthcare

9:38: Norwegian support to international disasters and events (Turkey and Ukraine)

14:00: The next big things for EMS in Norway

16:00: Response times can waste a lot of money

17:35: Hear and treat – Nurse triage

20:00: The need for EMS nations to learn from each other

21:00: The challenge for treating patients in the future

23:34: The relationship between fire and EMS in Norway

24:50 : Vehicle extrication – Norwegian style!

26:15: Steiner Olsen’s final thoughts

27:10: Contact details


Patient Quick Release Extrication Paper

Norwegian Telemedicine and Nurse Triage Video (in Norwegian)


Steinar Olsen is a RN and paramedic with 38 years of clinical and high-level management background from EMS and specialized healthcare services. He now serves as the director for emergency medical services and national preparedness in the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Steinar is also the regional chair of the European Regional Group for EMTs and national focal point to NATO joint Civil Military Health group. His previous experiences include serving in various positions in national healthcare, ranging from field disaster management to hospital management, project management through various national and international projects, including heading Norway’s contribution to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2014/15 and followed by various deployments to international humanitarian and consular crises.




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International EMS Spotlight

In this series in the EMS One-Stop Podcast, our host, Rob Lawrence, puts the spotlight on international EMS, interviewing EMS leaders across the globe on how their systems are operated, the challenges they face and the successes they have had

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.

He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.

Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.

Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s State Association Forum. He writes and podcasts for EMS1 and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.