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Interview of EU & World Experts in Telemedicine & eHealth
|Interview of EU & World Experts in Telemedicine & eHealth|
The main obstacles to eHealth Implementation (Interoperability, Acceptance of eHealth, Legal aspects)
18 March 2004
As part of the TM-Alliance project , more than 50 EU and world experts and stakeholders in the domain of Telemedicine and eHealth have been personally interviewed, with the results of these interviews very recently delivered to the eagerly awaiting Information Society Technologies Directorate of the European Commission. Consistent with the holistic approach of the TMA, these experts were selected from a wide range of stakeholders representing most sectors of society potentially involved with eHealth.
There were several aims for this survey: to glean the current views of experts regarding: pros and cons of conversion to eHealth; benefits and risks of these changes; hurdles to be overcome and barriers to be cleared; awareness and acceptance; reaction to the TM-Alliance and its Vision.
The decision was made early on not to conduct a typical anonymous survey where large numbers of questionnaires are distributed producing results of statistical significance, but rather to contact a smaller number of key experts individually and personally. Structured interviews were conducted where a series of both open and closed questions were poised. Prior to the interviews, the experts were provided with debriefing material, which included the TMA vision, some already identified results from the literature and other surveys regarding background material, and the list of questions to be asked.
Promising eHealth Applications
In general there was firm support for the citizen-centred vision of eHealth put forth by the TM-Alliance, as well as for the consortium itself. This optimism was accompanied by some healthy scepticism of some respondents regarding how the citizen of the future could deal with being in central control of his own health data. There was general concern of the possible threats of loss of privacy should security of data depositaries be breached or access to sensitive data be compromised. In general the respondents recognised that the overwhelming advantages to the citizen of having access to his health data at any place and any time and the accompanied speedier and better treatment, and more efficient administration facilitated and enabled by conversion to eHealth far outweighed the costs and headaches of this process.
The respondents also overwhelmingly supported initiatives of the TMA to facilitate consensus on the all-important issues of standardization and interoperability, issues widely recognised as roadblocks to be overcome before eHealth can seriously take off.
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