One of Germany's largest telemedicine undertakings has officially started its pilot run in Dresden on July 1. On the occasion of the kick-off of the innovative, open telemedicine service "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen", Saxony's minister of health, Barbara Klepsch (CDU), symbolically handed over a specially equipped tablet computer for aftercare at home to a patient of the Dresden Cardiology Centre at the Centre.
People who have suffered a stroke and are seamlessly cared for at home after their acute clinical treatment. Cardiac patients sending their health data to the Dresden Cardiology Centre for monitoring every day from their tablet.
Telenurses who monitor the vital data daily and immediately involve physicians in case of doubt. Pathologists who analyse digitally captured tissue samples and consult a council of other specialists: these and many other opportunities are provided by the new telemedicine platform "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen".
The European pilot scheme offers a broad range of possibilities in networked medical care and is intended to help overcome former limitations in healthcare. To do this, the project makes an open and universally applicable IT platform available for the healthcare of an entire region - in Eastern Saxony and beyond.
Thanks to "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen" clinics, physicians, nurses, other medical service providers and patients at home are connected by means of own, secure data networks. The patients can meanwhile also play an active part and communicate with hospital personnel in real time.
After two years of development, the first sample applications have now gone into pilot operation, including at-home care for cardiac insufficiency patients and outpatient aftercare for strokes. First "telenurses" and case managers have been trained for the pilot operation, and suitable patients integrated in the project.
The cooperation of various clinics in the joint diagnosis of pathological tissues is also made a great deal easier. High-resolution images of tissue samples, for example, can be exchanged in an encrypted form using secure data routes, and discussed by experts in video conferences.
The development of the "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen" system has for example included the establishment of telemedicine workplaces, procurement of tablets and IP phones for patients, and the installation of high-quality servers, scanners and a central data base. Responsibility for "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen" is shared by the project sponsor Carus Consilium Sachsen GmbH, a subsidiary of Dresden's university clinic, and the Telekom-subsidiary T-Systems International.
The parties involved in this first implementation stage include the Dresden Cardiology Centre, Dresden University Clinic, Leipzig University Clinic, the Saxon Hospital in Arnsdorf, and the Klinikum Oberlausitzer Bergland in Zittau. But this is only the beginning. "CCS Telehealth Ostsachsen is a solution for everyone. It is not limited to individual medical fields or regions, but can be expanded to include virtually all areas of healthcare", emphasized Prof. Dr. med. Michael Albrecht, medical director of Dresden University Clinic. "It is designed to ensure high-quality, fast and nearby medical care for the population, and to prevent imbalances between the care available at urban centres and in rural areas.“
The development of the telemedicine platform has been co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development and the Free State of Saxony, with a sum total of 9.8 million euros. This makes it the largest project funded within the programme of the Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (SMS) for promoting innovative approaches in the health economy during the Structural Fund's 2007-2013 funding period.
"With this project, Saxony plays a pioneering role in telemedicine: we are certain that we will also be providing trans-regional stimuli with this for innovative and future-oriented healthcare. Especially as other regions are also facing similar demographic challenges. We are making an important contribution here for designing forward-looking medical care provision in rural areas. We wish to reach out to the patients as much as to everyone involved in the provision of medical care", said health minister Barbara Klepsch (CDU). In addition, the minister symbolically handed over a specially equipped tablet to a cardiac patient.
A fundamental concern of the new service platform is the easy transferability to various medical applications and all regions in Europe. The technical and financial investments required from potential providers of telemedical services for establishing a new network of their own is markedly reduced. "With our joint telemedicine system, Saxony has arrived in the healthcare of the future today.
The patients in the Land will quickly become aware of the benefits provided by the telemedical care“, said Axel Wehmeier, who is responsible for the health IT business of Telekom. "I am certain that we will be able to expand the system quite soon. Partners can integrate their solutions as easily as with a multipoint connector. Whoever takes part will be saving time and money while reaching more medical partners and patients. Many companies have already contacted us and want to get involved", Wehmeier continued.
The "telecoaching" remote application, for example, allows remote aftercare for patients with cardiac insufficiency, who regularly send personal vital data to the Dresden Cardiology Centre from their tablet PC and maintain personal contact with a telenurse by means of video telephony, in order to guarantee a fast response to any complaints they may experience. The Dresden Cardiology Centre and attached Chair for Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Dresden Technical University have contributed decisively to the medical development and pilot phase.
The Cardiology Centre will consequently also be able to serve as a competence centre in future. "Comprehensive care for patients with cardiac insufficiency is of major importance", emphasized Prof. Dr. med. habil. Ruth H. Strasser, medical director of the Dresden Cardiology centre and holder of the Chair, on whose original idea the telemedical application is based. "Cardiac insufficiency is one of the most frequent internistic illnesses, with over 10 million affected in Europe. In Germany, it is the most frequent reason for hospitalization as an in-patient." First experiences had shown that the mortality of patients with cardiac insufficiency could be tangibly reduced by the application of telemedicine, Strasser emphasized.
Staatsministerium für Soziales und Verbraucherschutz
Tel.: 0351 564 5615
Mobil: 01525 6461288
Fax: 0351 564 5614
Carus Consilium Sachsen
Dr. Olaf Müller
Tel.: 0351 458-5039
Fax: 0351 458-4318
Holger Ostermeyer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
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