EC Workshop: critical factors for getting benefits from eHealth services

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I’ve abbreviated the headline on this item from the descriptive but convoluted title of the report: EC Workshop Procuring for health benefits: Critical Factors for Beneficial Deployment of Innovative eHealth and Telemedicine Services. However, don’t judge a 29-page report by it’s title, there is interesting material here.

It is a compilation of findings from an EU Commission workshop held in Copenhagen on 6 November 2008 with participants from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The purpose of the workshop seems to have been to help shape up a future call for an EU project to establish telemedicine procurement guidelines. Right form the start there are clearly issues around and the way that procurement processes can favour certain companies and potentially inhibit innovation. The workshop aims focused on the perspective of the professional user:

  • Why, and under what framework conditions, do physicians and nurses support investment in innovative eHealth and telemedicine?
  • Which benefits can be realised from this experience?
  • What are the challenges encountered?
  • Which lessons others can learn from?
  • How does this translate into the investment decision making and procurement process of their organisations?

If this whets your appetite there is plenty of detailed material to get your teeth into in this report and it is great to read something where debate is of the essence and expressions of uncertainty have not been edited out. I loved these phrases, for example:

“The evidence base is limited, so the logic base is used.”

“Deployment of eHealth is timid and restrained and rarely achieves maturity to demonstrate its full potential.”

“An important proposition is that RCTs should be the basis of evidence. Several people in the workshop who have considerable telehealth experience disagreed strongly. They see it as too complex and with too many variables for this approach.”

Download the report directly here and perhaps you can leave your favourite quote as a comment.