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Telemedicine

The widespread usage of telemedicine services - based on interaction between doctors and patients or among health professionals through electronic media - is an opportunity for citizens and a driver of great economic impact.

telehealth
The European telecare market is expected to be worth more than € 5 billion per year by 2015. However, despite a general level of maturity in telemedicine applications and Personal Health Systems (PHS) – devices which enable the provision of personalised health services regardless the patient’s location – the market is not yet developed on a large scale. Moreover, although there are some good examples, the transfer of solutions across healthcare centres and borders remains an exception rather than a rule.

The Renewing Health project seeks to deliver telemedicine and PHS services to the large segment of the population suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The project implements large-scale real-life pilots for the validation and evaluation of innovative and patientcentred PHS and telemedicine services using a common rigorous assessment method (MAST). The ultimate goal is to demonstrate that PHS and telemedicine services are sustainable and improve the quality of life. Moreover, they enable patients’ involvement and empowerment while optimising the use of resources in healthcare provision.

Different way of care delivery

Adequacy in care also means innovation in the way that care and social support are delivered, especially to the increasing number of patients suffering from chronic disorders. Worldwide, health systems are moving towards “integrated care” models, seeking to integrate and coordinate the management, organisation and delivery of health and care services related to diagnosis, treatment, care, rehabilitation and health promotion. Changes in lifestyle, empowerment of patients and relatives and better collaboration among the actors at different levels of the care chain are key parts of this process. What is the role of ICT?

The Nexes project moves the focus of care from hospital to primary and home care using ICT support. To this end, the project assessed deployment of four innovative Integrated Care Services (ICS) for chronic patients (respiratory, cardiac and type II diabetes mellitus) including well standardized patient-centred interventions: home-based wellness and exercise-training; enhanced care for frail patients; home hospitalization and early discharge and remote support to primary care for diagnosis and therapy.