Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

To demonstrate the potential of telematics technologies in the field of telemedicine in the fight against major health scourges; to promote joint approaches to issues such as the use of data cards, standards and other enabling mechanisms.


During the G-7 Ministerial Conference devoted to the Information Society (Brussels 25-26 February) the G-7 members, along with the European Commission, decided to launch 11 pilot projects which are designed to demonstrate the potential benefits of the Information Society and to stimulate its deployment.

The key objectives of the pilot projects are to:

- Support international consensus on common principles for applications, access and interoperability of networks;
- Establish groundwork for cooperation among G-7 partners to create a critical mass to address the global Information Society issue;
- Create an opportunity for information exchange leading to further development of the Information Society;
- Identify and select exemplary projects with tangible, understandable, and demonstrable socio-economic and cultural benefits;
- Identify obstacles to implementing applications related to a global Information Society;
- Help create markets for new products and services.

The aim of the pilot project on global healthcare applications is to improve existing international cooperation through the deployment of modern cost effective and user-friendly multimedia telematics applications and to demonstrate that they can contribute to better health for citizens. Interoperable solutions that protect the confidentiality of patient information will be a prerequisite to this.

It is expected that the six sub-projects (which are set out in the "Implementation" section of this summary) will help improve the prevention and treatment of major scourges such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, thus limiting related morbidity and mortality and enhancing the well-being of citizens. The sub-projects should also facilitate the sharing of relevant experience and knowledge amongst health professionals. Once implemented, the success of the initial sub-projects should open the way to similar collaborations to fight other diseases and to improve health across the world.


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The European Commission, France, Germany and Italy are responsible for the operational coordination of the pilot project on global healthcare applications. The project is implemented through the following six sub-projects:

- "Towards a global public health network": This theme will endeavour to facilitate the work of public health institutions in their fight against major health scourges and infectious diseases by making information more widely accessible to health professionals;

- Improving prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through global networks;

- Improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease through global networks;

- "A 24-hour multilingual telemedicine surveillance and emergency system around the world":
To explore the feasibility of establishing an around-the-clock teleconsultation system for health emergencies by interconnecting major public and private telemedicine centres around the world;

- "Enabling mechanisms for global healthcare networks":
This sub-project is designed strengthen existing approaches and is relevant to all technologies commonly used in healthcare. More specifically, it deals with the following: nomenclature, coding and standards; tools for navigation and access to the networks; linguistic aspects (including on-line translation); and the harmonization of security standards for patient-related data exchange;

- International harmonization of data cards in healthcare:
This sub-project deals with the development and piloting of an international emergency card that would provide the essential medical information which is vital for an emergency situation, as well as an international harmonized administrative data set. It will further investigate the development of an international professional card that will allow the secure identification of healthcare professionals when accessing medical data and network services.

The second and third sub-projects will help to link existing distributed data bases to allow health professionals and institutions to share knowledge on best practice for screening, quality control and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Both sub-projects will aim to strengthen international collaborative efforts in order to create global data bases which will make it possible for health professionals across the world to access the best possible information and expertise.

Following the Brussels G-7 Ministerial Meeting in February 1995, the sub-projects have established the core team of representatives nominated by the respective G-7 countries and have identified the key experts in the fields. Existing collaborative activities world-wide have been surveyed and high-level contacts with the relevant institutions in the G-7 countries have been established.

The project will build on and strengthen existing effective partnerships between governments and hospitals, healthcare research and teaching organizations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations (notably the World Health Organization-WHO).
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