Decentralization of the Greek National Telemedicine System

Decentralization of the Greek National Telemedicine System

Ioannis Apostolakis (National School of Public Health, Greece), Periklis Valsamos (Greek Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, Greece) and Iraklis Varlamis (Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-690-7.ch013
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Abstract

The demographic and geographic dispersion of Greece necessitates the adoption of telemedicine solutions in order to reduce patient transportation and waiting time. A centralized Telemedicine model proves insufficient to support the multitude of islands and other isolated areas of Greek mainland. This work records and analyzes the shortcomings and difficulties of the existing Greek Telemedicine system and suggests a more flexible, decentralized model, which upgrades the Regional Telemedicine Centers into mid-range providers of Telemedicine services. This reduces the burden of the central telemedicine unit, reduces reaction time in the offering of primary care without loosing in efficiency in more serious incidents. In this context, we list the necessary actions at technical, operational and organizational level for the smooth transition to a new system, as well as the advantages of this new structure. The binding of the new Regional Telemedicine Centers with the existing telemedicine system must be performed with the minimum cost. This presumes recording and reuse of the existing infrastructure, training of personnel and smooth transition to the new telemedicine structure. Based on the existing experiences, the specialized needs of the Greek National Healthcare System as well as the modern scientific developments we present an action plan that covers technical and organizational aspects for the development and successful incorporation and management of the Regional Telemedicine Centers in the Greek National Telemedicine System.

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