Regional Telemedicine Forum
Date du début: 31 déc. 2009,
Date de fin: 30 déc. 2012
The societal and economic benefits from wider use of telemedicine are potentially huge. The European Cohesion Policy is to deliver the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs (2007 – 2013), which is promoting innovation as a possible way of finding appropriate solutions for many of the societal challenges. The RTF partners are proposing to establish a Regional Telemedicine Forum to deliver innovation at regional level. Despite the benefits and technical maturity of the applications, the use of telemedicine services is still limited in Europe. It has become evident that actions have to be taken at regional level, by 1) developing policy recommendations addressing the main barriers hindering the wider use of telemedicine, 2) exchange of good practises, and 3) providing evidence of successful telemedicine to build trust and acceptance. Such actions will contribute to ensuring that regional policies will respond better to today's economic and social challenges.Until now the majority of the eHealth and telemedicine projects within the Structural Funding programmes have focused mainly on interoperability issues between few regions (standardisations and infrastructures for secure electronic communication) and the testing of few telemedicine pilots. A couple of new EU initiatives have a similar focus as RTF on the policy level and on the exchange of good practices in the domain of eHealth. As a contrast to previous experiences the RTF partnership wants to focus on the development of policy recommendations to European regions which can help them in their efforts to release the potential of wider implementation and deployment of telemedicine services at regional level - hereby improving patient care and healthcare system efficiency as well as market development for regional SMEs. The policy recommendations will be developed on the basis of identification and analysis of barriers at clinical, evaluation, strategy and market levels.Another added value of the RTF is the combination of the development of policy recommendations for European regions in conjunction with good practice guidelines which intend to make it possible to duplicate and replicate successful status quo telemedicine services for chronic patients in other European regions. Achievements: The first Telemedicine Event gathered 30 professionals in Barcelona on 16 & 17 June 2010. Concrete telemedicine services for chronic patients with COPD was at the core focus. The RTF Diabetes Event gathered 29 professionals in Odense, Denmark on 14 September 2010, with the aim to discuss telemedicine services for chronic patients with diabetes. The RTF CVD Event gathered 34 professionals in Edinburgh, Scotland on 22 March 2011, focusing on telemedicine services for chronic patients with cardiovascular disease. The RTF Event of regional strategies for IT-support of chronic disease management gathered 32 professionals in Tromsø, Norway on 15 June 2011. It focused on regional IT-strategies for chronic disease management. The RTF Event in Clermont-Ferrand on 4 October 2011 focused on regional facilitation of market access of SMEs in the field of telemedicine services. The sixth Event took off in Treviso, Italy in February 2012 focusing on development of policy recommendations.Finally the 7th RTF Event took place in Tallinn, continuing the round table discussions of developing policy recommendations. In addition this Event included a two hours panel discussion with the President of the Republic of Estonia, focusing on the importance of implementation and deployment of telemedicine services. Telemedicine services for chronic patients with COPD, diabetes and CVD have the potential to improve the lives of many EU citizens and to relieve part of the actual burden from health care institutions, which involve business opportunities for SMEs. A number of challenges remain before the impact becomes significant. Both for the citizens, regional authorities and industry, overcoming these obstacles will bring numerous benefits. The RTF partnership have until now discussed 20 good practices of telemedicine services which have been analyzed and included in the Good Practice Guidelines. These can be downloaded at the RTF website: www.regional-telemedicine.eu.The core challenge of the RTF partners is in particular how to organize telemedicine services and how to deal with the organisational challenges. Within the various means to foster organizational challenges is the requirement for the regional policy makers to take an active role in the push for new initiatives of telemedicine services and organizational changes to come. As follow-ups on the seven RTF events several partners have visited each other afterwards aiming at continuing the exchange of experience concerning concrete organization and development of new telemedicine services in the field of COPD, diabetes and CVD. The exchange of experience between the RTF regions have (so far) not resulted in a 1:1 exchange of a telemedicine service. In this context a RTF site visit in Tromsø, Norway in June 2011 demonstrated the various legal and organizational challenges of adopting a 1:1 telemedicine solution from Denmark to the Norwegian health service in the field of ulcer care. Until now the exchange of experience of RTF has resulted in transfer of good practices to 6 RTF regions which have helped them to adapt ongoing development and organization of new telemedicine services. Besides it has help them to improve the planning of new telemedicine services for chronic patients with COPD, diabetes or CVD and to establish a new centre of excellence in this field. In addition the exchange of experience has resulted in 2 spin-off projects/activities of RTF partners. Finally the RTF exchange of experience has resulted in 1 improvement of regional/local policies in terms improvement of a deployment programme for telemedicine services. The RTF End-of-Project Conference took place in Luleå, Sweden on 19 June 2012, and it involved 207 participants, including numerous regional politicians. The RTF results, including policy recommendations have been presented and discussed throughout panel discussions and separate working sessions.
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