HealthLine to create international TeleHealth service provision network for training and information

Athens 26 August 1998 Within the European Health Telematics Programme, the two year project HealthLine has been set up at the beginning of 1998 as an overall initiative to increase the positive results of TeleHealth implementation within other specific projects, such as RISE and NIVEMES. A funding of 1,8 Mecu has been allocated to provide expert training and information dissemination services to health professionals, beneficiaries and the general public through the use of telehealth systems and infrastructure, which already are applied by the existing RISE and NIVEMES projects. HealthLine is planned to run in two phases. First, the users will be extensively informed about and trained in the application of the innovative tools, services and health care provision methods. Second, a help desk facility will be set up in each country which participates in the network, to offer on- and off-line information and advices to both citizens and health professionals.

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Within the European Health Telematics Programme, the two year project HealthLine has been set up at the beginning of 1998 as an overall initiative to increase the positive results of TeleHealth implementation within other specific projects, such as RISE and NIVEMES. A funding of 1,8 Mecu has been allocated to provide expert training and information dissemination services to health professionals, beneficiaries and the general public through the use of telehealth systems and infrastructure, which already are applied by the existing RISE and NIVEMES projects. HealthLine is planned to run in two phases. First, the users will be extensively informed about and trained in the application of the innovative tools, services and health care provision methods. Second, a help desk facility will be set up in each country which participates in the network, to offer on- and off-line information and advices to both citizens and health professionals.

HealthLine project leader is the ATKOSoft Company, provider of the telemedicine software and the Multimedia Electronic Health Record, as well as the computer telephony and service provision. The other partners have been selected from the RISE and NIVEMES consortia as to offer the necessary technology infrastructure and telehealth and training services. The European project has a broad international scope in order to spread health care resources and experience to providers in remote, isolated and rural regions, thus narrowing the gap with experts in the urban areas. The ideal organization model would consist of a "Virtual Hospital" which extends over countries and possibly continents.

The Intranet scheme the HealthLine partners are aiming at, builds on the existing networks of the NIVEMES and RISE projects. The first one offers telemedicine services to remote populations and ship vessels; the latter deals with telehealth services to elderly people in various institutions or at home. A large part of the organization structure, medical experts and equipment, communication tools, health care knowledge and technical know-how is currently available. HealthLine has only to concentrate on the delivery of a minimal set of services, allowing the health professionals and citizens to exchange information and support each other over country boundaries. This goal has to be established by means of Internet connections, Web pages, and both public and voice telephone facilities.

Initially, the country clusters in the network will offer training on how to use the new tools and services and supply information in so-called roadmaps on medical methods and technologies to both the health care providers and the beneficiaries. These services will also be accessible for participants from other European projects of related activities and structure. Later on, the national help desk facilities will be installed to inform the public on a large spectrum of subjects which directly or indirectly regard the health service provision.

Financing will be made possible through sponsorships of drug and pharmaceutical industries, advertisements in Internet sites of the providers, and direct subscriptions of persons, organizations and institutions to the service. We invite you to check out the HealthLine Web site for more details on the project. In addition, Virtual Medical Worlds has articles for you on both the NIVEMES and the RISE projects.


Leslie Versweyveld

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