To describe the health care system and health care delivery in Greenland.
This was a literature study that included literature and articles searched in PubMed published from 1989 to 2009 about health care in Greenland.
The health care system is a publicly financed governmental responsibility. Its major challenges are limited economic resources, Greenland's demographic structure, rapid epidemiological changes, increased public demand for specialized treatment, difficulty in recruiting professionals and the economic burden imposed by around-the-clock maintenance of specialized staff in sparsely populated areas. To meet these challenges, a public health program focusing on health promotion and prevention, educational initiatives to improve recruitment and a system reorientation moving towards larger health care regions is proposed to be gradually implemented from 2010. One fundamental component of this plan is tying the system together with a telemedicine system and in the future also with a joint electronic patient file system. The importance of better surveillance and monitoring of health has been recognized, while securing best clinical practice and implementing better steering instruments on resource allocation and quality are areas needing focus in the future.
Many of the challenges for the Greenlandic health care system are being addressed with promising strategies, but only the future will show whether they are successful.