Despite the technical maturity of the available solutions and the recognised benefits for patients, industry and society, deployment of eHealth services is still low. The complexity of procuring eHealth solutions has been identified among the factors hindering wider deployment. A need is felt to analyse more in details procurement initiatives in the eHealth sector, in order to identify ways to improve the processes that lead to wide implementation of eHealth services
The study shall help in achieving the overall objective of contributing to more efficient and effective healthcare through the adoption of ICT solutions in the service delivery process. In particular the study shall contribute to the Lead Market Initiative for eHealth, which aims at accelerating the development of the eHealth market, as well as to achieve the objectives set out by the Communication on Telemedicine and the eHealth action plan.
The specific objectives of the study are:
- 1) To identify and analyse the challenges hindering the procurement of eHealth solutions. The study shall analyse the overall process of embedding eHealth solutions within healthcare delivery. Such process generally includes a strategic planning phase, a design phase, the phase of implementation of the procurement procedures and the implementation phase of the acquired solution. Activities aiming at evaluating and monitoring over time the actual usage of the acquired solution shall also be part of the analysis. All key aspects of the overall process shall be analysed, including clinical issues, technical aspects, organisational context, legal framework, as well as economic and financial aspects.
- 2) To identify and analyse possible approaches or methodologies for tackling the above challenges in such a way as to minimise the related risks of failure, thus enhancing the overall process of embedding eHealth solutions within healthcare delivery. The proposed approaches or methodologies shall be assessed by the Contractor by means of sound and relevant evidence to be duly documented.
- 3) Based on the analyses mentioned above, to draw a set of guidelines for decision makers and procurers within public healthcare authorities and care delivery organisations on how to achieve a given set of clearly defined strategic goals by possibly embedding ICT-based solutions into healthcare delivery, in such a way as to minimise the risks of failure and gaining over time the target benefits from the investments made.
The study shall analyse 10 eHealth procurement initiatives carried out in the 27 EU Member States, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. The selected procurement initiatives shall cover as much as possible national health systems, as well as different levels of decision making in the field of eHealth procurement and deployment (local, regional, and national). The selected initiatives shall have significant sizes in terms of number of patients covered and number of health professionals involved.
Considering the wide variety of eHealth applications and services, and the impossibility of in-depth analysis of all the eHealth application areas, the study shall focus on the following 2 areas:
- Implementation of region-wide electronic health record (EHR) systems;
- Incorporation of Telemonitoring services in the context of specific chronic disease management programmes run at the level of a regional health authority or a wide-area local health authority.
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