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 Novel approach improves graphene-based supercapacitors
03.08.2020 | University of Technology Sydney

nachricht Germany-wide rainfall measurements by utilizing the mobile network
03.08.2020 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

Im Focus: Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties

New approach creates synthetic layered magnets with unprecedented level of control over their magnetic properties

The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

First radio detection of an extrasolar planetary system around a main-sequence star

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

The art of making tiny holes

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Early Mars was covered in ice sheets, not flowing rivers

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>