EHTEL Task Forces are (or have been) temporary multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplicary working groups focusing on particular eHealth themes.
The upcoming EHTEL Task Force "Innovation & Society" aims to look ahead of the current eHealth deployments with a view to explore societal challenges raised by groundbreaking biomedical research and services to emerge, such as the paradigm of the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) and, more broadly, the issue of personalised health care.
With the Task Force Sustainable Telemedicine & Chronic Disease Management EHTEL connects key actors and supports them to develop essential cornerstones to reach consensus for collaboration and implementation in the field. Telemedicine services provide means to improve accessibility to high quality health care in case of shortage of appropriate health professionals or the necessary medical expertise or skills at the site of the patient. Telemedicine covers a broad spectrum of services such as teleconsultation, second opinion, telehomecare and teletraining and builds on technologies such as video-conferencing supported by the exchange of medical images and medical records as well as remote monitoring. Communication infrastructure include ordinary telephone land-lines, internet connections of various speeds and in many instances also satellite links to enable health care in remote and isolated areas.
The increased mobility across regional and national boundaries of both patients and healthcare deliverers raises vitally important political and regulatory issues and concerns. Consequently, governments and European institutions are exploring and setting new goals regarding the future of public health and healthcare. EHTEL has launched a task force aimed at ensuring that the role of ICTs in both facilitating and managing cross-border healthcare in the internal market is given due consideration by European Ministers, Commissioners, high level civil servants and other stakeholders. A neutral European platform such as EHTEL serves to address and to discuss common interests of stakeholders in healthcare to make efficient trans-border healthcare come true.
EHTEL has in 2005 launched a task force aimed at assisting the implementation of ICTs for disease management such as telemedicine and homecare monitoring through activities such as the collection and distillation of the experiences of existing disease management programmes in Europe, the dissemination of evidence-based guidelines for best practice in disease management and the development of strategies for their successful implementation and sustainable use. The task force was launched with the International Conference in Rome in October 2005 documented in this section.
EHTEL identified already in 2003 the business case for improving the prescribing and medication management process with ICTs: ePrescribing has a central role in reducing errors and thereby increasing quality and efficiency of clinical care. It is part of many eHealth strategies in Europe. So far we have organised a workshop in Amsterdam, NL (2004) and a two-days conference in Ljubljana, SLO (2006) in support of sharing information in Europe and setting an agenda for the future. With two deliverables in the framework of the EU funded i2-Health project EHTEL has further contributed to the subject and provided input to the recently launched "Smart Open Services" (SOS) eHealth interoperability implementation project.
The use of ICTs in the health services is increasing and there are several widening areas where ICTs can and are expected to promote better quality in health services for patients, professionals, service providers and owners of the health services independently of how they are organized (publicly or privately). There is also a need to show evidence of how ICTs enable productivity, effectiveness and quality in health services. The Association will launch a task force which aims to promote assessment of ehealth solutions, good practice in the implementation of ICTs in the health domain and the exchange of experiences and information. The task force will launch two workshops in 2004: one in June on “Quality and IT in Health Care” in co-operation the European Society for Quality in Health (ESQH) and a second in the autumn entitled “Can ICTs Introduce Added Value in Health Services: Assessment of the Productivity and Effectiveness”. The task force is a common forum for networking and co-operation for all the stakeholders in this field.
"eHealth is not a set of products, tools or applications but a range of responses to a set of requirements in the context of improving and transforming healthcare services." In many areas of our daily lives ICTs have an ubiquitous and ever-expanding role – making the processes involved in banking, retailing and trade efficient and enabling more successful business and personal relationships to be created and sustained over large distances. In all of these situations individuals and organisations have benefited directly from ICTs for which compelling business cases were made. The Association’s task force on user acceptance is dedicated to activities designed to disseminate business models that can support the implementation and acceptance of ICTs in health and social care.