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Researchers pave way for the European regional health care


The EU network operation, launched last spring, generates guidelines for future health care. The operation’s perspective covers the entire regional health care sector, from service system and treatment process to construction of hospitals and utilization of new technologies.

The Future Health operation (Network for Future Regional Health Care) is coordinated by Technomedicum, an independent institute of the University of Helsinki, Finland. Twenty universities, research institutes, hospital districts and hospitals from nine EU member states participate in the operation. In addition to Finland, the partners represent Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. The budget of the three-year operation is 1,5 M€, and it is co-financed by EU structural funds through the Interreg IIIC programme.

The European health care sector strives presently under profound changes. The health care costs are constantly increasing due to aging population and rapid development of new treatments and technologies. The implementation of novel IT tools, while enabling efficient transfer and analysis of patient information, will require radically new ways of thinking, as well as major changes in the modes of operation. All countries, irrespective of their economical or societal status, face the same fundamental question: how to increase the quality and volume of care, at the same time balancing the health care expenditure?

The Future Health network forms a platform where the experience of each partner is shared and utilized. The grand objective is to create a shared vision of the future regional health care and to develop common tools and approaches towards the desired direction. Societal, medical and technological aspects will be highly relevant when creating and evaluating the new modes of operation.

During the three years, the operation will organize in various participating countries six seminars where the outputs of the network collaboration are presented and discussed. Work group reports will be published under the www-pages

The kick-off seminar of the operation was held in Helsinki in March 2004, and the first actual working seminar in Tallinn in June. The next working seminar will take place in December 15-17 in Greifswald, Germany.

Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
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