COCIR Launches Telemedicine Toolkit

The Telemedicine Toolkit includes a Position Paper, Glossary of Terms and Database of Referenced Studies.

Telemedicine is an emerging field in healthcare with many unknowns. There is however a general consensus that telemedicine solutions present great potential to respond to the challenges faced by today’s healthcare systems:
• Ageing population
• Rise of chronic diseases
• Shortage of healthcare professionals
• Rising healthcare costs

In order to respond to these challenges, COCIR members have invested heavily in R&D to develop cost-efficient, innovative and patient-centered solutions. These solutions can improve the quality of life of patients, empower the patient to manage its health, reduce hospitalisations and prevent exacerbations.

To support its members, COCIR has created a dedicated Focus Group on telemedicine. The role of this Focus Group is threefold:
• Represent the voice of the industry on telemedicine
• Define and promote a common terminology
• Raise awareness about telemedicine and its potential

Represent the industry voice of telemedicine
Since the creation of the COCIR Focus Group on Telemedicine, additional healthcare IT companies have joined COCIR to take part in the Focus Group, thereby increasing COCIR’s position in the field. Together member companies have developed a Position Paper outlining the industry’s visions for telemedicine.

The Position Paper outlines:
• The industry definition of telemedicine
• The main barriers hampering the deployment of telemedicine in Europe
• The demonstrated benefits of telemedicine
• COCIR’s Five Recommendations for better deployment and use of telemedicine

Define and promote a common terminology
Telemedicine is an emerging field with various interpretations, in particular with regards to the terminology. This results in confusion and lack of coherence. The COCIR Glossary of Terms proposes clear definitions for the terms used in telemedicine. COCIR encourages all stakeholders to use these definitions to ensure a better understanding among all actors.

Raise awareness about telemedicine and its potential
There is a lack of confidence on behalf of patients, healthcare professionals and health insurance organisations with regards to the safety and cost-efficiency of telemedicine solutions. There is however an increasing number of sound scientific studies demonstrating the effectiveness of telemedicine solutions for chronic patients. The COCIR Database of Referenced Studies demonstrating the effectiveness of telemedicine includes such studies in the field of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Congestive heart failure and diabetes. This database will be enriched regularly.