VTT and A*Star offer new efficient health care solutions technology for an acute emergency and aging population

Espoo 06 June 2006The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has developed together with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) from Singapore, Emtele and Comptel a Global Health Monitoring Platform service that offers an efficient, open, scalable and secure service environment for remote diagnostics and telemedicine services utilization. This makes it possible to streamline the health care system and reach better efficiency money wise as well as improve the quality of health care. At the same time, it is possible to increase business volume through larger geographical reach of the medical service. In elderly care and chronic diseases people can be treated at home which increases the hospital infrastructure capacity. Patients get faster consultation in case of an acute emergency and easy to use solutions without ties to a place and time.

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Health care is facing major challenges in the near future. Costs are rapidly increasing worldwide due to aging population and widespread chronic diseases. In Finland, the development is estimated to be the most drastic in Europe. Now working and earning population is 50 percent of the total and in 2030 only 23 percent will be in the working age. How to fund aging population care is the major challenge. In order to restrain the rapidly increasing national health care expenditure, treatment processes should be considerably improved. Due to the information intensive nature of health care, intelligent ICT-solutions can yield significant benefits by introducing new radical treatment systems, more efficient internal processes and new services such as remotely supported care as well as personalized well being and home care services.

Today's ICT-solutions such as mobile and machine-to-machine technologies can provide a new type of distributed treatment infrastructure. Patients can be in the medical service providers care chain without being in a hospital. Remote monitoring solutions can push the point of care very close to the patient itself. In an acute emergency it can enable faster and more reliable consultation support which has the power to save lives, because the best expertise can be delivered remotely. In fact the Internet connections allow that the specialist reporting and care advice can be done anywhere in the world instantly. In chronic cases patents can continue their normal life and be monitored and guided by a physician wherever they are.

The problems that stand in the way of making this distributed treatment infrastructure a realization is proprietary company IT-systems, devices and non-standardized diagnostic data. The key success factors are that exchange and compatibility of semantic, digital information should be provided within organisations, between organisations and in a global scale. Seamless flow of information and open interfaces form the basis of successful and efficient services. The same requirements made the first mobile communication technology a success in the Nordic region.

The "Information and Communications Technology for Healthcare - a Global Solution" project aims to address all the above challenges and focus on the success factor of open standardized interfaces. In the first phase there are two concrete global scale pilots, a telemedicine solution for acute heart failure care in Finland and independent living of elderly and disabled in Singapore. Both these are based on a Global Health Monitoring Platform: GHMP.

The Global Health Monitoring Platform is a service and business innovation of Emtele, Comptel and VTT that will draw power from easy integration of existing devices, applications and systems. By enabling the use of multiple devices and intelligently relaying the data to relevant parties and back-end systems new quality, security, automation and efficiency levels are brought to medical service providers processes. All the information transfer is managed end to end. The Internet based data transfer makes global access and information use possible. The global operator will manage the Internet network and enable reliable data transfer.

The first pilot case brings together all the key players in a telemedicine value chain. Emtele, Comptel, VTT, Tampere University Hospital Heart Center, the Regional Rescue Center and device manufacturers will develop a global telemedicine service for acute ECG analysis and care instructions.


Leslie Versweyveld

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