European healthcare is threatened by soaring costs and limited resources. Market tests demonstrating that telemedical services can cut costs and improve treatment are now being implemented across the continent.
The physicians and healthcare administrators of HEALTH OPTIMUM, an EU- funded initial deployment project, thought when they accepted the challenge of using IT to enhance healthcare across Europe, while helping to contain out-of-control costs. The HEALTH OPTIMUM team realised that just treating the symptoms of Europe’s healthcare malaise would not save the patient. With the co-operation of the region’s physicians and healthcare administrators, HEALTH OPTIMUM restructured the entire process. First, an IT infrastructure was put in place to support remote but full-service neurosurgical consultation using a hub-and-spoke model.
Accordingly, HEALTH OPTIMUM is now increasing the range of its telemedical services in Italy, Spain and Denmark, and is expanding the project to Romania and Sweden. Some of the services being rolled out include patient-physician videoconferences, with both having access to the patient’s complete record, dermatological, radiological and surgical consultations supported by high-resolution images, and tele-counseling for discharge planning, homecare, and alcohol rehabilitation.