Telepom uses ICT to improve medical care in rural areas at the German-Polish border

By linking rural hospitals with medical centres in towns and cities through modern telecommunication technology, medical services for the inhabitants of POMERANIA Euroregion have become more efficient while remaining localised and of high quality.

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The Telemedicine in the Euroregion POMERANIA project links hospitals in Poland and Germany for a better treatment of patients. The Telemedicine in the Euroregion POMERANIA project links hospitals in Poland and Germany for a better treatment of patients.

Telemedicine has the potential to bridge distances in time and space by linking doctors and patients virtually through telecommunication. In consequence, patients in rural regions can be treated close to their home, but still benefit from more accurate diagnoses and better treatments. In the case of conditions like strokes or heart attacks, where quick reaction times are crucial, the use of telemedicine can even make the difference between life and death.

Adapting to demographic change on both sides of the border

The Telepom project links 18 German and 15 Polish clinics through videoconferences and data transfers. It enables hospitals in rural regions to deliver specialised services through consultation with experts in the hospitals in bigger towns. In a sparsely populated area where demographic change poses a significant challenge, the use of the telemedicine network ensures that medical specialists can provide services to a sufficient number of people without a loss of quality due to long distances.

One of the most innovative characteristics of the Telemedicine in POMERANIA project is its cross-border connection. A German-Polish steering committee meets monthly to discuss the ongoing projects, leading to a first-hand exchange among doctors from both sides of the border. By formulating recommendations for the removal of administrative barriers, the project also does important pioneering work for future international cooperations.

Ongoing success shows the project’s high relevance

Recently, “Telestroke” – which links local hospitals to a supra-regional stroke unit in Greifswald – and “Tele-ENT” – a telemedicine network for doctors working in the ear, nose and throat area – have been added to the list of medical fields using telemedicine, which also includes pathology, cardiology, and radiology.

“In a great common effort, a telemedicine network has been created in Western Pomerania, Northern Brandenburg, and the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, which significantly improved the medical services for people in the region. For instance, four pathologists can now cover 34 hospitals in Western Pomerania and thereby enable them to do operations which would not have been possible without telemedicine.”

Prof. Dr. Norbert Hosten, President of the Association “Telemedicine in the POMERANIA Euroregion”, Director of the Institute for Diagnostic Radiology and Neuro-radiology, University Hospital Greifswald

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Telemedicine in the POMERANIA Euroregion” is EUR 12 859 122 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 10 930 253 through the “Poland-Germany” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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