Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seamless European e-health web

08.01.2008
Europeans are becoming more mobile and healthcare systems have to keep up. A research consortium is seeking to chart a road map for e-health interoperability that would eventually hook up the health information systems of Member States in a seamless web.

Europeans are more mobile than ever before, moving not only around their own countries, but also across a largely borderless EU, in pursuit of leisure, education, career advancement or cultural enrichment. In addition, healthcare has changed significantly, with fewer people sticking to the same doctor, more patients visiting different specialists, health workers moving around more, as well as the emergence of e-health technologies which allow remote treatment and consultations.

This enhanced mobility has brought with it challenges. What happens if a person falls sick away from home or moves to another part of the country or another country altogether?

Although European health services have introduced sophisticated electronic information management systems, these are often designed to work on a local level and are often not interoperable.

Importance of being interoperable

The International Standards Organisation defines interoperability as “the ability of two or more systems to interact with one another and to exchange information according to a prescribed method in order to achieve predictable results”.

A useful analogy would be to think back to the early days of the personal computer when software developers produced programmes in isolation. This meant that data could not even be shared between the same type of software (for example, a spreadsheet) produced by different manufacturers, different types of software (word processor and database), or different platforms (IBM and Apple).

Today, interoperability in the PC market has become so highly evolved that data can be shared between different brands of the same software, different types of software and different platforms.

However, this is not yet the case with healthcare information systems. To tackle this challenge, Member States and the EU have mounted concerted efforts to create national and Union-wide interoperability.

“The establishment of e-health interoperability at the European level will create a win-win situation for various kinds of stakeholders that are involved in any phase of health delivery process,” explains Asuman Dogac, a professor at the Department of Computer Engineering of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

The best medicine for Europe’s e-health

According to Dogac, in the future, Europeans will ideally be able to go anywhere and not sense any difference in the quality of healthcare they receive, doctors and health bodies will be able to access information on foreign patients just as easily as they do for local ones, and patient records will be accessible at any time from anywhere not only for professionals with the necessary access right but also for the patients themselves.

Making this dream a reality requires sophisticated interoperability solutions to link up regional and national health information systems into a seamless European web. With EU funding, RIDE seeks to chart a route for Member States to enable their national e-health networks to talk to and understand one another.

The project’s nine partners in seven countries have already drawn up two draft versions of its e-health interoperability road map and work is in progress on the final version. This document complements the objectives of the Commission’s eHealth action plan, particularly with regard to semantic interoperability.

“Two crucial principles have been identified by the RIDE project,” Dogac told ICT Results ahead of a presentation at the eChallenges conference on 24 October 2007. “The first is the central leadership of the European Commission in coordinating Member State activities and the second is the need for an incremental deployment process in which growing (in physical coverage) and evolving (increasing functionality) pilots are being developed across Member States.”

To achieve this, RIDE has benchmarked good practice and promoted the exchange of experience. It has also formulated ‘visionary’ scenarios, mapped out the gap between the current situation and the desired future one and documented the limitations of current policies and strategies.

Interface to face

One of the good practice cases identified by RIDE was Medcom, the Danish healthcare network. It provides national standards for communication flows relating to referrals, discharge letters, laboratory results, X-rays, prescriptions and billing between hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories and other related institutes. It is used almost universally in Denmark, with 97% of general practitioners, 74% of fulltime specialists, all pharmacies and hospitals utilising the system.

In order to achieve interoperability at European level, it is necessary that this kind of widely used national network is established in all EU Member States. Then, the interoperability of these networks can be realised through well-defined interfaces.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89301

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>