Use of experts
We rely on relevant expert assessments to make the right decisions concerning our cases. How are experts chosen, what constitutes a good expert assessment, and when might it be appropriate to make use of foreign experts?
How do we choose medical experts?
Experts must be a specialist in the field concerned. We have framework agreements with almost a hundred experts, who consider cases for us on a regular basis. These framework agreements give us the access to expertise that we need. Access to specialist expertise is vital in order to shorten the case processing time as much as possible. It is also important to make the right decisions in cases. Some cases are considered by a number of experts with different professional backgrounds.
In addition to the experts who have a framework agreement with NPE, we use a number of experts who carry out individual assignments for us.
What constitutes a good expert assessment?
Based on their professional background as a specialist, the expert must provide an assessment of the treatment that has been provided and the follow-up that the patient has received. A good expert assessment must both answer all the questions we need answers to in order to reach a decision, and contain justified assessments. We always ask the expert to use comprehensible and clear language, and avoid unnecessary and complicated specialist terms.
NPE pays the experts it uses for their assessments
Applicants have their compensation claim assessed free of charge. That is why we pay for the job that the expert does in assessing the treatment that the patient has received.
NPE has no influence over the outcome of expert assessments in any way
We do not lay down any guidelines regarding what the experts should conclude about the treatment that the patient has received. The experts will give their professional assessment of what happened during the course of the treatment. We use these assessments in our overall evaluation as to whether or not an applicant is entitled to compensation under the Patient Injury Act.
Experts must be competent
To ensure that assessments are trustworthy, it is important that the experts we use do not have any inappropriate links with the treatment provider they are assessing. For example, we avoid giving assignments to experts who have recently worked where the treatment to be considered was provided.
We believe that the experts take their duties seriously and that they are keen to produce professional assessments, irrespective of whether or not any errors have been made.
What about foreign experts?
We mainly use experts who are based in Norway. This is because the experts are required to consider treatment that has been provided by the Norwegian health service. Guidelines and treatments may vary from country to country. Practical considerations such as available technical equipment and other resource issues also vary. It is therefore important that treatments are assessed on the basis of a knowledge of the circumstances that apply in Norway.
It may be appropriate to use a foreign expert in certain cases where a case concerns very specific circumstances, or where, for example, there are few experts in the field concerned in Norway. We therefore sometimes use experts from Sweden and Denmark.