In its recent, so-called "Telemedicine Communication" (COM(2008)689), the European Commission also calls for provision and dissemination of scientific evidence of telemedicine effectiveness and cost effectiveness as one of the actions to increase confidence and acceptance of telemedicine services and subsequently to improve access for citizens and health care professionals to telemedicine and ehealth services.
Also the European Health Telematics Association's (EHTEL) Task Force on "Telemedicine & Chronic Disease Management" is currently working on building evidence about the impact and opportunities offered by sustainable telemedicine services in the context of the need for changing care processes and will contribute to the Med-e-Tel programme.
EHTEL will be one of the contributors to the exciting opening session of this year's Med-e-Tel conference programme, which will feature additional contributions from the European Commission, International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth, International Telecommunication Union, International Council of Nurses, Russian Telemedicine Association, Rockefeller Foundation, Internet Society Belgium who will provide insights into current initiatives and future directions in telemedicine and ehealth.
Furthermore, Med-e-Tel 2009 will feature a workshop by the Telenursing Working Group that has been set up within the framework of the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH). The goal of the group is to bring telenursing experience to nurses worldwide and enhance networking with key industry stakeholders, by organizing sessions and meetings at existing events like Med-e-Tel.
The group was actually initiated at last year's Med-e-Tel and held an inaugural workshop at the joint Canadian Society of Telehealth/ISfTeH conference in Ottawa last October. The Telenursing Working Group is also collaborating with the International Council of Nurses, to get its message and experience across to a large nursing audience.
A regional (BeLux) hospital administrator seminar, endorsed by the Luxembourg Ministry of Health and CRP-Santé (Public Research Centre for Health), will focus on "priorities, benefits and budgets for health IT in the 21st century". A returning feature at Med-e-Tel, this seminar brings together representatives from all major hospitals and other industry stakeholders in Luxembourg as well as various Belgian health care institutions, and presents business cases from a number of industry leaders and their clients who draw from successful experiences.
This year, the seminar will reflect upon the short and medium term IT priorities and on making optimal choices for each individual hospital, each department and the health care system as a whole; the seminar will feature some of the most interesting experiences in the region and beyond, and show the benefits, as well as the conditions for success and the difficulties and resistance that can be met during implementation.
Another important feature at this year's Med-e-Tel conference will be a workshop by the European NETC@RDS project, which will focus on the deployment of an on-line service for the electronic European Health Insurance Card (eEHIC).
NETC@RDS' long term initiative is to improve access to the health care systems in different regions. Currently the project already has installations in 16 European countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland. The project service sites are health care facilities (hospitals, ambulatory care and GPs offices) where the NETC@RDS services are being deployed and made operational, enabling "non-planned" health care for European citizens who provide evidence of entitlement.
The NETC@RDS workshop at Med-e-Tel will present how the project application was validated and is now deployed through the service sites, opening a wide discussion on policy and legal aspects, potential market dimension and commercial features of the services, and effectiveness of the proposed ICT solution in view of the interoperability of the eEHIC as forthcoming challenge for borderless care in Europe.
Also the European co-funded project TEN4Health will present a workshop on "Citizen Services for Borderless Healthcare in the European Union: Practical Solutions". Initiated by leading public health insurance providers, TEN4Health contributes towards improved health care provision for mobile European Union citizens. The TEN4Health service package assures access of citizens to health care in participating Member States' hospitals, based on a secure web service and its integration into developing European eHealth infrastructure networks. It greatly enhances and extends its utility by integrating efficient support for electronic post-processing at the Union level.
The TEN4Health service is piloted and validated at 11 hospitals directly participating in the consortium, and several other indirectly participating hospital sites across six Member States - Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands. Representatives of the European Commission and of the European Parliament have highlighted the TEN4Health project as an example for improving cross-border health care services in Europe. Both citizens and hospitals are seen to benefit.
The practical solutions to be presented at the workshop include two operational examples of hospitals providing the service to tourists in skiing resorts in Austria, another one at the North Sea coast in The Netherlands and the operation of this service solution in hospitals in the Czech Republic. The service solutions allow health care providers to reliably and on-line determine that a patient is covered by health insurance and rapidly receive reimbursement through on-line billing processes being an integral part of the service package. The EHIC Portal "AOK Europa" - a web portal solution offered by German hospitals for health care provision to foreigners from all over the world will be presented as well.
The three day Med-e-Tel conference programme will include additional sessions and workshops on the topics of chronic disease management, teleconsultation, open source software, ehealth in developing countries, elearning, mobile solutions, ehealth integration in routine practice, environmental conditions and telehealth, economic efficiency, national ehealth programmes and initiatives, and more.
Overall, Med-e-Tel promotes and enhances co-operation opportunities and is the place to meet and network with some health care and industry stakeholders from more than 45 countries in Europe and beyond. Med-e-Tel 2009 is scheduled for 1-3 April 2009 in Luxembourg. More information is available at the Med-e-Tel website or via email@example.com