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ET-ASSIST is planning telematics support for the health care sector serving remote rural populations in Europe, or migrant or mobile groups such as expatriates and seamen. The key concern is maintaining a quality service when emergency patients are moved out of isolated regions or across national borders, sometimes into an unfamiliar linguistic or medical environment. The project will examine computerised and multimedia patient managment and health data systems as a means of accurately briefing all professionals involved in such cases, including local doctors, transport organisers and hospital staff.

The main objective of ET-ASSIST is to provide professionals involved in medical care to remote rural populations, travelers or expatriates, and crewmen onboard ships, with a set of information processing tools to improve the continuity of care at regional, national and international levels. For instance, when an assistance company is requested to organize a sanitary transportation from one Country to another, a critical step is to reliably evaluate what risks and benefits may be expected for the person seeking assistance, as a patient first, but also as a customer of commercially available services. This evaluation requires an efficient cooperative work between regional healthcare structures acting on the spot, and assistance companies. In the case of sanitary transportations, the challenge of ET-ASSIST is to ensure the availability, from each transit location and to all actors dealing with the (remote) patient, of a set of objective medical data constituting an accurate and reliable image of its medical status and history, and to facilitate related administrative and financial operations. Handling emergencies in this way, demands that systematic procedures be defined and/or improved, taking into account, among others, differencies of languages and interpretation practices.

The developments to be validated in the ET-ASSIST project bear on patient file management systems and on systems for the acquisition of physiological data and/or symptoms, accessible to computers. The main integration tool will be an X400 E-mail system allowing communication with other non standard systems. The integration methodology is based on the definition of a specific EDI (EDI-ASSIST), taking into account the work undertaken for EDIFACT. Assistance structures already make an extensive use of conventional communication technologies (about 12,8 millions of telephone communications in 1994, in France) evidencing the market potential for adapted telematics applications. The general promotion of standards (GEHR, SCP-ECG, EDI-ASSIST) is expected to contribute to the emergence of this market.

Call for proposal

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MEDES, Institut de Médecine et de Physiologie Spatiales
EU contribution
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18, Av. Edouard Belin
31055 Toulouse

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Participants (7)