Multi-regional pilot project TEMeTeN to promote advanced telemedicine and teleworking

Heraklion 31 July 1998 The regions of Crete in Greece, the Balearics in Spain, Sardegna in Italy and Tampere in Finland have set up a telematics applications and services initiative within the European Programme for International Co-operation and Regional Economic Innovation, in order to move " Towards a European Medical and Teleworking Network" (TEMeTeN). Rather than aiming to develop new technologies, the project partners prefer to use the already existing infrastructure of terrestrial, mobile and satellite communications, interoperable portable devices, multimedia information systems and computer supported co-operative worksystems to demonstrate what a future information society may look like in isolated areas, which are nevertheless becoming very attractive for tourists.

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The regions of Crete in Greece, the Balearics in Spain, Sardegna in Italy and Tampere in Finland have set up a telematics applications and services initiative within the European Programme for International Co-operation and Regional Economic Innovation, in order to move " Towards a European Medical and Teleworking Network" (TEMeTeN). Rather than aiming to develop new technologies, the project partners prefer to use the already existing infrastructure of terrestrial, mobile and satellite communications, interoperable portable devices, multimedia information systems and computer supported co-operative worksystems to demonstrate what a future information society may look like in isolated areas, which are nevertheless becoming very attractive for tourists.

The overall idea of the TEMeTeN project is to create a telematic network to interconnect the major public and private centres within the participating regions for the delivery of teleworking and health care services. Statistics have proven that accidents tend to more than triple in the tourist season. Since tourism often represents the only economic activity of value in the concerning regions, it is of great importance to improve the quality of medical care through integrated regional networking, as to prevent the visitors from turning to better provided holiday resorts. The project partners concentrate on both teleradiology for diagnostic purposes and the exchange of medical records and data.

For this purpose, facilities for desk-top conferencing have to be developed, consisting of point to point as well as multicasting procedures. Remote laboratory replies and requests will be automatized and rapidly executed. Built in security measures will protect the patient's privacy with regard to confidential data. Web based co-operative services have to be set up, to create shared workspaces. On the one hand, educational services for distant and isolated health care providers will be established and on the other, tourists as well as the local population will benefit from information services. At a trans-European level, standard medical and operational procedures for medical assistance will be defined.

The second aspect of the TEMeTeN project relates to teleworking. Since the interest in telework has substantially increased in the past years, the project partners plan to integrate teleworking centres and mobile workstations for the tourists as well as for the native population. The private sector, including hotels and communications companies, will be involved in setting up the service. Groups of "teleworkers" will be selected to test the quality of the initiative and to assess its potential for contribution to the regional development and prosperity. The uptake of teleworking will be carefully studied and evaluated to measure outcomes.

The main coordinator of TEMeTeN is the Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for research and technology Hellas. The project is directed by a project management committee (PMC), consisting of the project manager and the regional project managers. The PMC meets twice a year to check out whether the objectives are met. The local health care and telework managers form the technical management committee (TMC) which gathers three times a year to coordinate cross-work packages in the specialized fields. In each region participating in TEMeTeN, a regional project management committee (RPMC) has been installed to supervise the local projects and budgets, while it is the PMC's responsibility to manage the overall project's budget. The TEMeTeN Home Page offers regular updates of the ongoing work.


Leslie Versweyveld

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