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

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