Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Medicine and health care have to respond to the changing patterns of population, disease and new treatments, to the demands of medical ethics and the law, and to economic pressure and social expectations. If they are to be accepted by users, technical developments have to be judged not only on thier technical properties but also on their social acceptability and economic viability. There are corresponding stages for strategic work: research on the demand, and assessment of the technology under various criteria.

On the demaand side, the central goal of health care systems is assumed to be improving the health of the populations they serve. The over-riding considerations in determining health, social, educational and environmental policies, in setting priorities and allocating resources at European Community, national, regional and local levels must be the health status and health needs of the population. At present there is a trend away from institutional care towards primary and home care. At the same time the average age of the population is increasing. The consequence of this is increased complexity of the care demands. Due to the above changes the total work load will increase in Primary care sector and the quality of service delivered may therefore be at risk. It will be necessary to improve communication and exchange of data between different health care sectors: hospitals - primary health care - social sector - home care.

As a first step, therefore, detailed information and analysis are required concerning the current and predicted health status and helath needs of the European population, which information and telecommunications technologies may contribute to improving. The steps that follow consist of examining technology to assess it for the purposes fo medicine and health care. The workplan handles three aspects of this examination: appropriateness, safeguards for the individual, and quality of care.
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