Regional Telemedicine Forum (RTF)

Published on: 14/10/2010

This Regional Telemedicine Forum arises from a growing awareness among European regions that there is much to learn from exploring alternative models of telemedicine related policies and in addition, from practical implementation of telemedicine services already provided by other European regions. The interests of the partners go beyond improving patient care and healthcare system efficiency. Several partner regions have designated health and AAL/welfare technology, including telemedicine, as a political prioritised area for prospective business development.

The overall aim is to identify and analyse good practices within telemedicine services at clinical, market and strategy/policy levels. Hereby it is possible to scrutinise barriers and facilitators at different levels, and eventually to suggest policy recommendations to European regions.

Policy Context

Europe's healthcare systems are facing a huge challenge, with limited financial resources, an elderly population predicted to rise by more than 50% by 2050 and the prevalence of chronic diseases also on the increase. This will place a tremendous economic burden on governments, care professionals, employers and consumers. Telemedicine services have the potential to improve the lives of many chronic diseases patients while relieving part of the actual burden from health institutions.

This project establishes a Regional Telemedicine Forum to deliver innovation at regional level. Despite the benefits and technical maturity of the applications, the use of telemedicine services - the provision of healthcare services at a distance - is still limited in Europe. It is evident that actions have to be taken at regional level by developing policy recommendations addressing the main barriers that hinder the wider use of telemedicine. This contributes to ensuring that regional policies respond better to today's economic and social challenges.

Description of target users and groups

Health authorities, health professionals and regional authorities.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The partnership of 9 European regions in 9 different countries aims to release the potential of wider implementation and deployment of telemedicine services at the regional level. Over the three years the partners will organise workshops, four study visits and virtual meetings to focus on telemedicine services related to three major chronic diseases: diabetes, smokers' lung disease, and cardiovascular disease.

The project results in policy recommendations, developed on the basis of identification and analysis of barriers and facilitators at clinical, strategy, and market levels. This contributes to releasing the potential of wider implementation and deployment of telemedicine services at the regional level, and hereby to innovation within patient care and healthcare system efficiency as well as market development for regional SMEs.

Main results, benefits and impacts

RTF intends to deliver the following project results:

  • New knowledge and skills of all involved stakeholders
  • Improvement of regional policies/strategies
  • Successful transfer of telemedicine services between regions

RTF tangible deliverables:

  • Good practice guidelines on telemedicine services for chronic patients with 1) Smokers' Lung Disease (COPD), which has been completed, 2) Diabetes, 3) Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • Good practice guidelines on regional strategies for IT-support of chronic patients
  • Good practice guidelines on market facilitation for SMEs within telemedicine
  • Policy recommendations for wider implementation and deployment of telemedicine

The RTF deliverables offer examples of practices, processes and recommendations against which you can compare your own arrangements and choose to

  • adopt if they closely match your needs
  • adapt in order to meet your specific needs
  • use as a point of reference to review and reflect upon your current activities

Lessons learnt

This field will be completed by the submitter when the lessons learnt have been identified and understood.

Scope: International, Regional (sub-national)