Advanced Informatics in Medicine (AIM) is Area 3 within the Community's specific programme of research and technological development in telematic systems in areas of general interest (1990-1994). The annual Technical Report for 1993 describes the framework and technical content of the AIM programme. The rationale of the programme, explained in an introduction to the Report, is based on inputs from different sources: industry, telecommunication service providers, academic research and health care professionals in Member States. Health care providers have accepted and introduced new technologies at a slower pace than many other domains. European health care is a very fragmented market, and an effort is needed to increase the competitiveness of European industry in this sector, by advancing the technical basis of products and services, and supporting their commercialization by European companies on a world scale. Against this background, the programme has in the past proved to be a good platform for collaborative RTD work, and current AIM projects raise high expectations. The Report contains a description of the preliminary results achieved by these projects at the end of their first year of activity, and the plans for the second year. Over the last two decades, information technologies have played a decisive role in the dramatic developments not only in diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, and rehabilitation of patients, but also for the more collective aspects of health care and health preservation such as clinical trials, epidemiology, prevention and health education. The AIM programme coincides with major pushes for rapid uptake of telematic technologies by the health care sector, stemming from radical changes in the care delivery systems of many Member States. The shift in delivery principles can be characterized as decentralization of authority in planning and execution, and by separation of purchase and provision. Rapid communication of comparable data has been perceived universally as the cornerstone of this development. The need for establishing conceptual models, developing workstations, working on a common medical terminology, coding and classification was addressed with success in the AIM Exploratory Action (1989-1990). The present programme adds a strong element of further integration of systems by highlighting the interconnectivity of medical workstations, the development of bridges to a broadband communication network with health care specific added services, telemedicine, and interactive shared databases. Topics covered in the 200-page Report include overviews of the Community's programme of telematics research and of AIM itself, and a section on the strategic coordination of AIM projects and other accompanying activities. Projects are dealt with individually, in each case providing a brief introduction, plus information on objectives, technical approach, key issues, relationships to previous work, achievements to-date and expected impact, plus relationships to other projects and actions. Also included are the project names and acronyms, listings of contractors, and contact details. An Annex contains the Telematics Management Committee's "Report to CREST on the Commission Working Document concerning the Fourth Framework Programme (COM(92) 406)", setting out recommendations on research priorities, and on telematics activities to be undertaken in the Fourth Framework Programme.
Policy making and guidelines
1 December 1993