Pen and paper against a pandemic
Most municipalities had no tool for infection tracking when the corona pandemic hit, and many used pen and paper in the beginning. If no one created a tool that made this work more efficient, there would be no way to keep up with the number of people who got infected.
From idea to company in 3 weeks
The chief medical officer in Hadsel, Ingebjørn Bleidvin, discovered this problem in his own municipality and contacted old friends in the IT industry. How difficult would it be to create something that solved the problem? They agreed that it had to be possible, and established Remin as a private company, without ties to municipal or state enterprises, and financed the development and operation themselves in the start-up phase. What started as a frustration turned into an idea that ended up becoming the most widespread infection tracking tool in Norway.
«We wanted to give infection trackers effective tools in the face of a growing pandemic with unknown dangers and infection rates.»Ingebjørn BleidvinChief municipal doctor and entrepreneur
Clear language provided quick onboarding
Across the country, health secretaries, physiotherapists and other health workers were ordered to carry out infection tracing and close contact notification. There was little time for training, and it could not be taken for granted that everyone who was to use the system had enough specialist knowledge of infection tracking to understand the technical language within that discipline. It was therefore crucial that the tool was as simple and intuitive as possible, and plain language was a strong guide right from the start.
One person at support
Up until and including the major infection peak in November 2020, medically responsible for the solution alone was responsible for all support of approximately 200 municipalities - without many having to wait a long time to get help. This was possible because the solution was so easy to use. The vast majority of customers used the tool completely without the need for external training or detailed user manuals.
«An early customer asked about user manuals and training when they signed the contract. But after they got a login to the tool and tried it themselves, we heard nothing more about it.»Ingebjørn BleidvinChief municipal doctor and entrepreneur
«We now save 3 hours per case of infection compared to pen and paper.»-Many of the municipalities that used Remin claimed this. Over 800,000 cases of infection were eventually registered in Remin.
Design and development process during a crisis
We at Behalf were given responsibility for the design and layout of the service, and the development and operation of the front-end layer in the solution. The goal was to create effective and user-friendly solutions, and get them out to users as quickly as possible.
Straight into production
The team worked closely and interdisciplinary with rapid iterations. New functions and solutions were some times tested directly in production. This is not usually done, especially not in the health sector, but here the need for quick solutions was great, and the consequences of making mistakes less dramatic.
Brand without visual identity
It was never a priority to work with identity and brand for the service, since the market situation was so unique and time was so short. The most important thing we could do for the brand was to create a tool that solved the problem for the municipalities. It hurt the designers in the team then, but today we think that this was probably the right choice.
Landing pages and logo are still to this day made by a chief municipal doctor from Hadsel.
Remin in the media
The municipal doctor created his own system for infection tracking: − Didn't have time to wait
The infection trackers in Bergen have finally got better tools than pens, telephones and spreadsheets
Feature on the news show Dagsrevyen about Remin's infection tracking
Municipal doctor invented infection tracking system: - Enormous benefit for society
Remin was the only non-public company, apart from the vaccine manufacturers, named in the Norwegian Corona Commission's report. Remin has built infrastructure that Norway did not have to a sufficient extent before 2020.
Remin gained a more central position in the work on handling the pandemic than we had dared to hope for. Doors have now opened to other parts of the health sector where the need for a new generation of digital solutions is sorely needed.
DOGA Award for Design and Architecture
In 2023, Remin was awarded the DOGA Award. The DOGA Award for Design and Architecture is Norway's most important recognition for businesses and practitioners who distinguish themselves through outstanding use of design and/or architecture.
«We in the jury are impressed by this unique product because it has an intuitive and simple user interface and is based on plain language.»
During the pandemic, 220 of Norway's approximately 350 municipalities used the tool for infection tracking. 3.5 million of Norway's inhabitants live in these municipalities.
800,000 cases of infection registered
Over eight hundred thousand people with one or more cases of infection have been registered.
One million vaccine doses
The system has been used to register approximately one million vaccine doses.
Over 500 000 hours saved
The municipalities we spoke to estimated that they saved approximately three hours per case of infection by using Remin's self-reporting of close contacts compared with using pen and paper. With many hundreds of thousands of registered cases of infection in the system, we are in any case talking about a saving of over five hundred thousand hours in the municipalities' first line.
Several municipalities have expressed that Remin has been an absolutely crucial tool in the work to map and quickly follow up Covid 19 cases, and that this has helped to avoid loss of life. For society as a whole, there is an inestimable value in the fact that the municipalities' first line did not collapse, but was able to handle even the largest peaks of infection.
"Remin Smittesporing is awarded the DOGA Award for Design and Architecture for exemplary use of interaction and service design for a socially beneficial purpose. Others have a lot to learn from Remin's clear and simple design language."
Remin delivered a positive result in 2020 and a very good result in 2021. The company was acquired by Kernel AS (part of the A. Wilhelmsen group) as part of their investment in health technology. The team behind Remin helped start Aidn, a patient record system for municipalities.