Europe has always been in the forefront of research in Healthcare IT, though there is a lack of joint exploitation of the results by the Member States since their policies and practices often diverge. From the industrial point of view, companies usually operate in language-bound territories, and are eventually swamped by companies from larger home markets. WIDENET proposes dealing with these shortcomings in healthcare, specifically in healthcare records. It aims to continue building a network of national centres following the model of the already successful PROREC Belgium centre, to deal, among others, with the exploitation problem, and also to establish an international European-led organisation to co-ordinate the network on the European scale and strengthen successful suppliers. The project represents a response to the European Parliament's call for high-quality healthcare to be available to every citizen regardless of where he is, and to the Commission's related aims to raise the quality of life. The measures consist of raising awareness of the issues in the healthcare sector, building independent criteria and offering services for evaluating and purchasing IT solutions, and a degree of accreditation of companies, health telematics services and products.
Communication of data between health care institutions and professionals is an essential component of modern healthcare delivery. Better collaboration between the different healthcare providers is critical for achieving the level of quality and continuity that European citizens increasingly expect. Efficient exchange of information is the key element for managing resources, evaluating quality, and raising cost-effectiveness. It is commonly recognised that IT is essential to providing such data, and the use of standards-based record elements is crucial for interoperation. WIDENET's mission is therefore to promote the adoption and extended use of Standardised Electronic Health Care Records and the required infrastructure. The project aims to provide a sound and effective instrument for promoting and attaining such requirements. The plan is to form a European Institute for Healthcare Records and Management that will represent the permanent network of National Centres and provide quality and affordable added value services to the European market. This fulfils calls from the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the Commission, and the Council of Europe. There is also an important goal dealing with the collaboration with strategic bodies (CEN, ISO, EC IST programme, EHTEL, WHO and national/international initiatives) to ensure that the European convergence is appropriately conducted according to their guidance and standards
WIDENET will install in Europe and beyond its boundaries a permanent structure of centres focused on dissemination of information and provision of services related to comprehensive, communicable and secure EHCRs. To guarantee that new centres will comply with their endeavours, WIDENET will make an appropriate use of successful models applied in PROREC project, and more precisely from the reputed PROREC Belgium centre.
National centres will provide actors with a series of useful services related to EHCRs, normally consisting of:
- Raising awareness of the issues in healthcare sector, and the potential and implications of EHCRs, by means of conferences, fora, seminars, publications and web sites
- Providing the required linkages between users, suppliers, and national authorities concerned with policy and resource provision in healthcare
- Building criteria for evaluating and purchasing healthcare IT solutions, and a degree of accreditation of products and companies.
The actual activities and their relative importance will vary between countries, depending on national needs, existing activities and structures, and national policy and practice. The activities envisaged, both on the international as on the national level, can be found on a scale ranging from informative, through advisory and monitoring, to accreditation and provision. This will be done through organisation, co-ordination and concertation. At the international level, WIDENET will co-ordinate the convergence towards comprehensive, communicable and secure EHCRs by collaborating with EU and international bodies like EHTEL, working in healthcare and ensuring that the EC's interests are reached. It will support reference services to preserve comprehensibility and clinical significance of terminology and classifications used the data that are exchanged. As an essential element for achieving this, WIDENET will collaborate with bodies like CEN, ISO, CORBA-med, to ensure that the European convergence is appropriately conducted. WIDENET will act as a Network of knowledge on National, European and International developments in Medical ICT. Information will be fed to the international centre, and guidance and direction will be provided from the international centre.
Key Milestones will be as follows:
1. Design and setting up of National Centres and consolidation of the permanent structure (according to the PROREC Belgium centre model),
2. Business plan and foundation of the European Institute for Health Records and Management,
3. Annual EUROREC conference
The main results will be:
1. Concertation agreements with standardisation bodies and others institutions (CEN, ISO, EC IST programme, EHTEL, WHO and national/international initiatives);
2. Critical mass among target audience;
3. Added value services;
4. Web-based repository information, and
5. Promotional and dissemination material.
Funding SchemeACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures
2628 VK Delft