|Friday, 11 April 2008|
|Across Europe and worldwide, telemedicine and telehealth services respond to today’s health and social demands, i.e. treatment of chronic patients, support for the quality of life of elderly people living at home and the empowerment of citizens/patients to make healthcare choices. With the evolving European-wide availability of eHealth infrastructures, new opportunities for highly interconnected telemedicine services emerge.
Given the ubiquity of networks and the mobility of patients in Europe it is impossible to deploy sustainable telemedicine services without international, European and worldwide dimensions.
To accomplish this joint vision, the three National eHealth and Telemedicine Associations of Germany (DGG), Austria (ASSTeH) and Switzerland (SATMeH) have recently joined forces and enforced their cooperation by a formal agreement. The agreement was signed at the "1st D-A-CH Cooperation Meeting" held in Mannheim, Germany, in the premises of Vitaphone, one of the pioneers in the provision of telemedicine services supported by a highly professional Telemedicine Service Centre. The cooperation agreement foresees close, cross-border collaboration for various subjects of eHealth and telemedicine supported by regular consultations and joint meetings of the associations. Foreseen results are joint publications, conferences and exhibitions at medical and eHealth fairs. Even more important will be the development of agreed guidelines for various aspects of telemedicine, educational curricula and providing harmonised advice to model and pilot projects.
As Günter Steyer, President of the DGG states "The significance of telemedicine in practice is vastly increasing throughout Europe. Following the introduction of health telematics infrastructures like e.g. the German eHealth card, clinical teleservices become increasingly important. Also the European Commission has prioritised telemedicine in its 2008 action planning. Especially for chronic diseases and patients at risk, telemedicine is an essential module to cope with the challenges of the European Healthcare systems, particularly those induced by the demographic changes. The cooperation of the European Associations for eHealth and telemedicine is hence of utmost importance to pave the way for a coherent European eHealth infrastructure, which has to be build on international standardisation while still recognising National developments and regulations."
These three national associations are also the national member organizations for their country within the International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), an international umbrella organization of telemedicine and ehealth associations and institutions, currently covering about 45 countries around the world. DGG, ASSTeH and SATMeH representatives will also be available for meetings on the ISfTeH exhibition stand at Med-e-Tel 2008, and they have various presentations scheduled in the Med-e-Tel conference program.
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The "Med" in Med-e-Tel stands for healthcare services (institutional and home based care, prevention and education) and for medical products and equipment (medical imaging equipment, monitoring devices, electronic health records, etc.).
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