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Community action (EEC) in the field of information technology & telecommunications applied to health care (AIM) - Exploratory action, 1988-1989

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 2.3.: "New services of common interest (including transport)", AIM is an exploratory action which forms the first stage of a phased approach.

It involves:
- Bringing together the different health care actors involved in health care to identify needs, define approaches and create consensus;
- Developing a conceptual model for health care information systems;
- Defining data requirements and information flows;
- Tailoring existing and developing technologies;
- Carrying out pilot projects to evaluate these technologies;
- Evaluating the potential of IT&T to help meet health care needs.
To exploit information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) in order to improve health care within the Community by stimulating concertation in medical research, optimizing the availability of existing care services, assisting in establishing common standards, and updating the regulatory framework for health care throughout the Community.
Three action lines:

- Development of a common conceptual framework for cooperation:
Developing an accurate understanding of the present and future role of medical and bio-informatics (MBI) in health care, in particular in the areas of medical records, communications, information retrieval and decision support systems;

- Application of information technology and telecommunications to health care:
Developing the medical informatics environment including appropriate structuring of data and medical records, communication and functional integration of MBI data, integration of knowledge- based systems into health care and development of advanced biomedical instrumentation and research tools;

- Creation of an environment favourable to the rapid introduction and appropriate application of MBI in health care:
Developing specific proposals for the necessary policy, regulatory, legal and organizational framework for MBI, including training and manpower.
Implementation is monitored by the Commission assisted by a Committee composed of two representatives of each Member State and chaired by a Commission representative. A workplan defining the detailed objectives, the types of projects and activities to be undertaken and the corresponding financial plan is drawn up by the Commission.

Project proposals, as a rule, are submitted in reply to an open invitation to tender and are financed by means of shared-cost contracts. The Community may bear up to 50% of total expenditure or, where universities and research institutes are involved, up to 100% of the marginal costs.

Each project must involve at least two independent partners from a minimum of two Member States. One partner at least should be an industrial undertaking and at least one should be concerned with health care. Projects may include organizations and enterprises from non- Community European countries with which framework agreements for scientific and technical cooperation have been concluded. The Commission, after consulting the Committee, defines procedures (including rules of confidentiality) for the exchange of information between Member States, the Commission and suppliers.

After 12 months, results of the action were reviewed by the Commission and reported to the European Parliament and the Council/Member States. A final report on results and performance will subsequently be submitted.