A promising future for telemedicine

Télémédecine | 21 Jun 2010
In April 2009, French minister of health and sport, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, announced the launch of a project to examine the strategy for telehealth development, focusing in particular on teleradiology.
Doctors consulting a radioOn 9 April 2009, Roselyne Bachelot and representatives of the shared healthcare information systems agency ASIP Santé discussed the most important aspects of the operational relaunch of the electronic health record (DMP) and information systems in healthcare in front of an audience of around 100 individuals from the health sector who had met at the ministry as part of a public conference on the topic. The event saw the minister begin by highlighting the management and coordination role to be played by ASIP Santé for healthcare IT systems and the DMP in particular. She then looked at the question of telehealth, defined as "all technologies that facilitate remote monitoring, diagnosis, expertise and care.” Teleradiology was also discussed, and the government’s wish to introduce cutting-edge technology to improve treatment in this field. 

An ambitious telehealth policy

A report published in January 2009 by Dominique Acker and Pierre Simon, general councillors for French healthcare institutions, stated that the deployment of telemedicine across France was a “public health priority”. Roselyne Bachelot returned to this subject and stated that: "Telehealth offers major opportunities to better meet our fellow citizens’ healthcare requirements”. The HPST (a law on hospital reform and on patients, healthcare and the regions) will provide the legal framework necessary to develop the field.

The minister went on to signal her intention to “change the scale” and move up to a higher gear, while “pushing through ambitious policy” and assigning a high-ranking individual to draw up a telehealth strategy. This person will be responsible for proposing telehealth objectives for the authorities to adopt, drawing up a road map that will allow these targets to be met, and identifying the measures necessary to remove any brakes on telehealth development.

Deploying teleradiology systems across France

In the same speech, Roselyne Bachelot explained that beyond the DMP, the public authorities need to establish IT systems to facilitate access to treatment and improve the quality of care for all citizens. “This is why I have asked ASIP Santé to promote a number of projects connected to the DMP, with the aim of improving care,” she added. “A proactive strategy is necessary to develop secure exchange between healthcare professionals and the outpatient sector.” Bachelot specified that ASIP Santé should coordinate the deployment of teleradiology systems across France, so as to ensure earlier emergency diagnosis of strokes.