Telemedicine and e-health

In its 6th edition this year, and with a proven track record of highly efficient and effective networking, Med-e-Tel is set to attract once again a qualified audience of some 500 industry representatives, association executives, government officials, healthcare providers, payers/insurers and researchers from 50 countries around the globe.

General topics of the conference program and exhibition showcase include:
- personal health monitoring
- chronic disease management
- e-health/telecare for independent or assisted living in the ageing society
- telenursing
- nursing informatics
- behavioural telehealth, telepsychology
- interoperability, standardization
- wireless/mobile technologies
- e-health/telemedicine in developing countries and low resource settings
- project results and presentations and more...
    
The opening session on 16 April will feature a presentation by Dr. Bill Crounse, senior director of worldwide health at Microsoft. Dr. Crounse will share his perspectives on the growing opportunities for a new kind of medical practice based on personalised telehealth. "No longer in the sole domain of academic medical centres or large group practices, telemedicine has become a commodity technology with the promise to vastly improve the delivery of health information and medical services around the globe while reducing traditional doctor visits, saving money, and greatly increasing patient satisfaction" says Dr. Crounse.
    
The presentation will show how innovative clinicians are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into the practice of medicine and how organisations can benefit by staying ahead of the curve. Dr. Crounse will also share a ‘future vision’ for healthcare that is personalised, more global and consumer-centric, based on cost, quality and transparency.
    
David Whitlinger, president of the Continua Health Alliance and director of healthcare device standards and interoperability for Intel's digital health group will give an update on Continua's progress in recent months in the development of guidelines for device makers, that should help consumers and healthcare providers to more simply share information through common communication channels such as mobile phones, PCs, TV set-top boxes, telephones, and other devices.
    
Continua is a large, cross-industry consortium focused on the establishment of an eco-system of interoperable, personal telehealth systems and currently counts about 130 members, among which are Dell, IBM, Intel, NHS Connecting for Health, Nokia, Pfizer and Samsung.
    
Market opportunities
European Commission representatives will provide background on their recently released report on lead market opportunities for e-health that proposes actions aiming at accelerating the development of the European e-health market, increasing economic benefits and simultaneously develop the quality of health products and services. The prospective return on investment of e-health is relatively high when compared to the costs inherent in the health sector. Also, details of the consultation that is being planned for this year in preparation for the Commission's communication on telemedicine for chronic disease management will be highlighted.
    
Overall, the theme of disease management through the use of telemedicine and e-health tools and services, will be high up on the agenda at Med-e-Tel. According to Frederic Lievens, International Coordinator for Med-e-Tel, telehealth systems will become as normal and even essential in our daily lives as the use of computer and mobile phone have already become today: "With the rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure or asthma, to name but a few, telemonitoring technologies offer tremendous opportunities to keep track of one's health and physical wellbeing, allowing for timely interventions when things start deteriorating. He continues: "We are excited to work together at this year's Med-e-Tel with organisations such as the Continua Health Alliance, International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing, European Commission and others, to provide an insight into how the use of technology can be a possible solution to the challenges facing patients/citizens, caregivers and governments in our changing society."
    
Besides the repercussions that telemedicine and e-health have on a personal health level, there are obviously many applications that are situated at the institutional level as well, and that will help hospitals and clinicians to conduct their activities more effectively and efficiently.
    
Strengths and weaknesses
Some of this will be highlighted in a regional symposium that, as in the previous years, will be conducted within the frame of Med-e-Tel by the Luxembourg CRP-Santé (Public Institution for Research in Healthcare, Public Health and Biotechnology). This year, the symposium will focus on the development and use of balanced scorecards in the healthcare sector, and how they can serve as an instrument to identify stengths and weaknesses in an organisation and to optimise processes and outcomes, in an environment that is increasingly under financial pressure.
    
The interactive and hands-on symposium provides best practice information and experiences from hospitals and health authorities in Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg.
    
The exhibition that will be part of the Med-e-Tel event will feature a look at some of the practical developments that have been made in in the area of telemedicine, e-health and health ICTs. Products and technologies that are available from a range of medical, IT and telecom companies will be on show, including home monitoring devices, personal health record applications, assistive technology, mobile clinical devices, and data capture, transfer and archiving tools.
    
The International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), one of the supporting organisations behind Med-e-Tel, together with some of its national member associations will provide an overview of new international telemedicine and e-health initiatives and developments in the Med-e-Tel conference program and also on a joint exhibition stand.         

Knowledge and experience
The ISfTeH exists to facilitate the international dissemination of knowledge and experience in telemedicine and e-health and to provide access to recognised experts in the field worldwide. It is an umbrella organisation which currently already represents about 30 national telemedicine and e-health associations, as well as a number of educational and healthcare institutions.
    
Also, the Continua Health Alliance will actively take part in the event with a.o. a plugfest for cross-vendor interoperability testing. The Continua 2008 Spring Summit is scheduled to take place in Luxembourg during the week of Med-e-Tel as well. These quarterly summits provide Continua members with detailed information and updates relating to Continua progress and insight on future planned events. The Continua working groups meet face to face to discuss current activities and tasks.
    
Resource Center
In addition to the conference program and exhibition, Med-e-Tel also presents a true knowledge resource center in the form of its media corner where information and copies are provided from over 35 publications, magazines, journals, reports and online news and information services in the fields of telemedicine and e-health.
    
"In short, Med-e-Tel offers unique opportunities to discover telemedicine and e-health products, services and innovative technologies, to gather updated information through the extensive conference programs, to share experiences and knowledge, to network with contacts from around the world, and to establish new partnerships," concludes Lievens.

For more information
For more details and information about the event, log on to www.medetel.lu

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