Telemedicine & Telecare Newsletter

Telemedicine & Telecare International Trade FairApril 17, 2003

newsletter - newsletter - newsletter - Nr 17

In this newsletter:


  • Details of Telemedicine Trade Fair's educational program now available online
  • Another piece of Europe in your pocket
  • Using satellites for health innovations
  • News from the Telemedicine Trade Fair's media partners
  • Newsbriefs
  • Conferences

Details of Telemedicine Trade Fair's educational program now available online
Detailed information about the educational programs that were scheduled to be held at the Telemedicine Trade Fair 2003 is now available on the Telemedicine Trade Fair's website. Abstracts and even some full presentations, as well as speaker contact details have been added onto the website.

Presentations covering a broad range of practical applications, solutions, experiences and projects are featured. The presentations, by representatives from leading companies as well as national and international organizations and institutions, focus on topics such as impact assessment, cost effectiveness, national telemedicine projects, telemedicine in developing countries, broadband applications, wireless applications, satellite communications, legal issues, distance education, teleconsultation, telehomecare, telemental health, telecardiology, telesurgery and many more. For information on these presentations, feel free to contact the authors/presenters, or contact us at

Also information about the Africa Telehealth Group's "Africa Telehealth Series" and the EHTEL (European Health Telematics Association) workshop on "Using and Sharing Health Information in the 21st Century", that were scheduled to be held in conjunction with the Telemedicine Trade Fair 2003, is available on the website.

Another piece of Europe in your pocket
Healthcare experts recently met in Barcelona, Spain to discuss what an EU press release describes as "another piece of Europe in your pocket". The workshop on electronic health cards for Europeans, organised by the Telemedicine Alliance (TM Alliance), was held at the regional office for Europe of the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO, together with the European Commission, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the European Space Agency (ESA), is a partner in the TM Alliance, a project sponsored by the European Commission and led by ESA.

The idea behind the workshop was to ensure that the new 'smart' cards make full use of the potential offered by the IT evolution. At first they will be used to replace the E-111 health form that Europeans use when travelling within Europe but, as members of the workshop pointed out, they could be used for much more than that.
'Smart' health cards could hold important information such as a patients blood group and medication in use, as well as providing access to medical records. Quick and easy retrieval of such information would speed up health care, reduce the risk of erroneous medication and treatment, reduce time, decrease costs and streamline services across Europe.

Before such a system can be put into operation however, the health records of all European patients need to be stored in electronic format - something that is not yet the case - and state-of-the-art security and data protection standards need to be agreed upon, and put in place, throughout Europe.
The workshop proved valuable both for the exchange of information and for the discussions that took place between disciplines. The TM Alliance decided to hold another workshop in the near future, with a slightly broader focus, in order to build upon and continue the work already carried out. More info can be found on the ESA website.

Using satellites for health care innovations
n a project called TelAny (Telemedicine Anywhere) funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), trials showed how satellite telecommunications can allow doctors to monitor and treat emergency cases or long term patients remotely.
The project pooled the experience of medical, software and telecommunications professionals to test three different scenarios:

- The monitoring of patients directly accessing life signals using devices implanted in their bodies. This test involved five patients each with a pacemaker device implanted into their hearts by the participating cardiologists. These patients were monitored from hospitals in Milan and Rome, Italy. Non-specialised paramedical or non-medical personnel at the home of the patient helped the remote physician by collecting the data from the implanted sensors using an electronic reader. The information collected was then downloaded to a PC equipped with a Globalstar satellite modem and connected to a relatively small antenna which provided a satellite-based Internet connection. Physicians were able to retrieve data from the PC at the patients home in less than 30 seconds. After analysing the data the physician could give advice to the patient over the phone based on the information he received. Only if the pacemaker needed to be reprogrammed would the doctor invite the patient to the surgery.

- Treating emergencies remotely. TelAny can also transfer data from the place where a medical emergency occurs to a remotely connected physician for immediate assistance. This demonstration took place on board the MS Trollfjord in co-operation with a doctor on shore at KoKom (National Centre on Emergency Health-Care Communication) in Bergen, Norway. The procedure lasted about 20 minutes and involved a patient being examined under the direction from the doctor on shore. Onboard MS Trollfjord the online application made it possible for the medical assistant on-board ship to have a videoconference with the doctor on shore. The equipment included a wearable computer, a headset, microphone, camera and screen. This equipment was mobile and conveyed information to shore via a wireless network. Medical equipment was connected to the PC: an ECG, a multi-monitoring device, an electronic stethoscope and a digital camera. Data collected from these different non-invasive medical devices was encrypted and sent to the doctor on shore.

- Making a medical database out of data collected that consulting specialists could access. The data collected in the trials was stored on a database server. The physicians were able to remotely access and review this stored data over both terrestrial and satellite Internet connections. Clinical records are largely paper-based and available on a daily basis only within the hospital in which they are kept. The future of medical practice however will rely ever more on making this sort of information available in electronic format to physicians wherever they are.
See ESA website for more details on the TelAny project and trials.

News from the Telemedicine Trade Fair's media partners
- For information on publications, journals, magazines and on-line information services that will help you to stay abreast of what is going on in the field of telemedicine and healthcare IT and to make better informed decisions in your daily business or healthcare practice, check out the list of Media Partners on

- The Telemedicine Journal and E-Health is offering free public access to its recent issue highlighting Success Stories in Telemedicine. The issue provides 15 peer reviewed papers that offer empirical evidence of the ways telemedicine is contributing to the improvement of health care.

To follow are links to several recently published articles and studies:
- A Comparison of Diabetes Education Administered Through Telemedicine Versus in Person (Diabetes Care)
- Telemedicine and neurosurgery: experience of a regional unit based in South Africa (Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare)
- Home telemonitoring for patients with severe respiratory illness: the Italian experience (Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare)
- The Pentalfa project. 1: The development of distance continuing medical education via videoconferencing in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium (Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare)
- The Pentalfa project. 2: Profile of participants and economic aspects (Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare)
- Evaluation of a telemedicine demonstration project in the Magdalene Islands (Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare)
- It's the year of JPEG2000 (Healthcare Informatics)
- Distinguish Yourself with E-health (Healthcare Informatics)
- Teleophthalmology Meets Hollywood (Healthcare Informatics)
- Imagers make over medical conference rooms (Diagnostic Imaging)
- PACS-related technologist productivity gains can help justify investment (Diagnostic Imaging)
- PACS administration: The PACS manager plays the business role (Diagnostic Imaging)
- DR and PACS Integration (Medical Imaging)
- My mobile can treat asthma, can yours? (The Times Online)
- Multi-purpose healthcare telemedicine systems with mobile communication link support (BioMedical Engineering OnLine)

- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), international organization in the field of telecommunication standardization is organizing a workshop on Standardization in E-Health, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland on May 23-25, 2003.

The development of advanced digital and telecommunications technologies has enabled the development of very sophisticated equipment used in the medical area, as well as has contributed to distance learning. Unfortunately, most solutions have been developed on a proprietary or ad-hoc basis, posing challenges to institutions working in the medical area willing to integrate their infrastructure and procedures, as well as to share resources with other institutions distributed in wide geographical area. These geographically distributed scenarios include not only sharing of resources and data amongst institutions in the developed countries but also serve to support provision of medical services and education in developing countries where there is a constant shortage of doctors and medical professionals. Shared medical databases can reduce costs and increase efficiencies but can also enable early detection of epidemics and even bio-attacks.

Standardization in E-Health has long been as a key element in support of these activities, but has so far not produced a very high level interoperability desired by many. In organizing this workshop, the ITU with participation of ISO, IEC and other SDOs, aims at identifying the key issues needed in support of attaining this goal and to identify a possible role to be played in ITU to promote such standards. The workshop program is available at For registration contact

- To redefine telemedicine via satellite development in line with key healthcare priorities, the European Space Agency (ESA) is organizing a telemedicine symposium, Telemedicine via Satellite in the Information Society, to be held at ESRIN, Frascati, Italy on May 23-24, 2003.

Use of satellite based ICT for telemedicine is progressing from an exploratory phase towards a more operational profile, in which integration into existing healthcare systems and quick attainment of self-sustainability is essential.
Bringing together ICT specialists and health professionals, this symposium aims to review the current status of satellite-based telemedicine services and technologies and to converge on common requirements of direct relevance for future telemedicine services via satellite. During the two-day event, guidelines for defining future programmatic actions for the further development and promotion of telemedicine via satellite will also be identified.

The following themes of telemedicine via satellite will be covered during the symposium: telemedicine for elderly people; telemedicine for disaster relief and emergency applications; telemedicine for hospitals in remote areas; teleconsulting; second opinion and regulatory aspects; telemedicine, medical education and clinical research; telemedicine technology development in satcom; economical impacts of telemedicine. For more info, contact

- The Southern Institute for Health Informatics (SIHI) is holding it's 5th Annual Conference on June 12, 2003 at the Portland Building, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK. Themes of the conference include: ICT helping to meet Government priorities and targets; new applications of clinical information; electronic patient records/electronic healthcare records; telemedicine, especially innovative applications; e-booking of appointments; issues surrounding the security and confidentiality of patient data; new applications of the Internet in healthcare; primary care computing; developments in new ICTs; ICT and the professions allied to medicine; and other topics relevant to health informatics. For more info, refer to or contact

More news to come soon...

For your convenience, please find below some direct links to registration forms which can be found on
- partners and supporters of the Telemedicine Trade Fair
- media partners of the Telemedicine Trade Fair
- abstracts and presentations of the Telemedicine Trade Fair 2003
- download the Telemedicine Trade Fair 2002 exhibition guide (pdf)
- previous newsletters
- newsletter subscription form



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