The Future of Telemedicine in Europe and Methods for the Evaluation of Health Services

The Future of Telemedicine in Europe and Methods for the Evaluation of Health Services

Paola Di Giacomo
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/ijrqeh.2012070103
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Despite the accumulation of evidence for the effects of approaches to chronic illness, methodological and analytical work is still needed to develop widely accepted evaluation methods that are scientifically sound and also practicable in routine settings. Given all the diversity and variability of disease management, a key issue for this work concerns the difficulties in establishing a useful “comparator” in settings where it is not practical or possible to execute an evaluation as a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This is indeed an important task because evaluation methods are a precondition to select efficient and effective programs, or components within a program that can address the growing burden of chronic and more in general health conditions. This is evident, in particular, when it comes to new technologies in medicine and implementation and evaluation, in the healthcare sectors, distinguishing low-income countries, on the one-hand, and those in other middle income countries.
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Among the sectors that seem indifferent towards considering sustainability as a strategy or intent, healthcare was one of the most emblematic cases, even though it is facing great challenges in its structure, organization, service delivery and operations. Within this context, the development of new paradigms of healthcare delivery that may be sustainable over time is becoming an imperative. With this regard, technology has drawn increasing attention as one of the “emerging service delivery vehicles running on the information highway and its application to healthcare has been denominated e-health. Despite the enthusiasm, not much is understood about how to make these changes factual and, above all, in line with the challenge of sustainable development. Specialized research provides little insight into why there is so little routine use of technologies in clinical practice: this is the reason why, in recent years, studies on the organizational sustainability have emerged.

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