Virtual Health Care Center

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Virtual Health Care Center

Georgia
Project Summary
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Virtual Health Care Center (VHCC) develops and realizes a new model of application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to implement eHealth initiative for remote consultations and distance education in healthcare. It proposes to implement a unified, resilient and transparent infrastructure, available on demand in order to solve problems in healthcare. The special emphasize is placed on: distribution of computational resources; ensuring image processing algorithm?s accessibility; combining image data with other medical data, facilitating data access; bringing affordable solutions to respond to real problems in healthcare. Emphasis is placed on: timely and secure access of medical data; interoperability of databases of heterogeneous content for medical and research purposes; computing intensive applications and knowledge discovery, and improved eHealth procedures. VHCC enables sharing, selection and aggregation of a wide variety of distributed resources and allows them to be used as a single, unified resource. The VHCC system aims to provide an infrastructure for eHealth environments by using teleconferencing and digital imaging. The project also purposes to demonstrate the possibility of remote access to patient record databases for improved clinical diagnostic. In the frames of VHCC are implementing: eClinic, eLab, eLearning and eImaging. VHCC envisages the deployment of ICT to enable: secure remote patient diagnosis, follow up and monitoring; enhanced and ready access to educational materials on healthcare topics in the form of lectures, CME programs, clinical cases and downloadable slides; increase the understanding of clinical diagnosis and treatment in healthcare professionals by providing high quality annotated guidelines, CT, X-rays, pathology images, and online help for difficult questions and clinical cases. The main goal of VHCC is to overcome the time and distance barriers that separate caregiver and patient.

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Your idea
Focus of activity

Healthcare Delivery

Start Year

2005

Positioning in the mosaic of solutions
Main barrier addressed

Limited reach of healthcare infrastructure

Main principle addressed

Introduce novel uses of technologies

Innovation
Description of health product/service offering:

Virtual Health Care Center (VHCC) develops and realizes a new model of application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to implement eHealth initiative for remote consultations and distance education in healthcare. It proposes to implement a unified, resilient and transparent infrastructure, available on demand in order to solve problems in healthcare. The special emphasize is placed on: distribution of computational resources; ensuring image processing algorithm?s accessibility; combining image data with other medical data, facilitating data access; bringing affordable solutions to respond to real problems in healthcare. Emphasis is placed on: timely and secure access of medical data; interoperability of databases of heterogeneous content for medical and research purposes; computing intensive applications and knowledge discovery, and improved eHealth procedures. VHCC enables sharing, selection and aggregation of a wide variety of distributed resources and allows them to be used as a single, unified resource. The VHCC system aims to provide an infrastructure for eHealth environments by using teleconferencing and digital imaging. The project also purposes to demonstrate the possibility of remote access to patient record databases for improved clinical diagnostic. In the frames of VHCC are implementing: eClinic, eLab, eLearning and eImaging. VHCC envisages the deployment of ICT to enable: secure remote patient diagnosis, follow up and monitoring; enhanced and ready access to educational materials on healthcare topics in the form of lectures, CME programs, clinical cases and downloadable slides; increase the understanding of clinical diagnosis and treatment in healthcare professionals by providing high quality annotated guidelines, CT, X-rays, pathology images, and online help for difficult questions and clinical cases. The main goal of VHCC is to overcome the time and distance barriers that separate caregiver and patient.

Description of innovation:

eHealth has a great potentiality; however there are unfortunately today few examples of large services. The benefits of expanding of eHealth use are threefold: it can improve the quality of healthcare services; it allows a better exploitation of limited hospital resources and of expensive medical equipment; and it helps to address the problem of unequal access to healthcare. Throughout the world the number of people requiring special care is increasing as the proportion of elderly people rises, at the same time, in a high-tech age the expectations of the society for a better healthcare are also rising. eHealth offers the opportunity for improving healthcare service and for making healthcare expertise available to underserved locations. The probability of an incorrect handling of a relevant medical data, is still dangerously high, mainly due to: environmental, instinctive and emotional factors. As a consequence the probability of an serious error occurrence could be high and the probability of its recognition and correction very low. This frequently causes a repetition of exams in the same time or in different medical units and it slows down the diagnostic process and the proper treatment. So, proper actions for improving the working procedures have to be taken. Correct medical information management and transmission is a key point, hence the introduction of innovative ICT can be relevant. VHCC provides a new learning service based on collaborative and bi- and multi- directional communication processes. VHCC is focusing on: improving the performance of the healthcare services and optimizing the running costs of the healthcare structures and the allocation of resources. For this reason, health is now following a ?delocalization? process: information, i.e. knowledge and skills, should be moved, rather than people or tools. VHCC aims to provide an answer to such an evolution to eHealth.

Operational model:

Reference data and medical support services provided by VHCC are complying in a cost-effective way to the continuously increasing healthcare professionals? needs for a faster access via Internet to data and services supporting decision making in clinical practice and medical education. The services provided by VHCC are: ? Access to clinical and educational data, tutoring and eLearning functions: reference data (clinical data) and text databases for diagnostic and patient care decision support and for undergraduate or postgraduate courses and professional continuing education schemes support; educational tutoring and learning progress assessment; off- line and on-line consulting on specific issues; ? Support to the teleconsulting sessions with the above mentioned data and workgroup function as forum. Most patient data are stored in large files. For this reason, the transfer rate of the multimedia contents in the web- sites is a qualifying element to satisfy the needs of healthcare professionals, scientists and students in the various medical areas. It should be noted especially, that a medical record collects data items from direct patient examination and from medical instruments. These ?events? representing significant episodes in the patient?s medical history, belong to two classes: analytical events and descriptive events. The healthcare staff worldwide needs to certificate their participation in CME programs. Web-based technologies allow courses be available on-line, this enables healthcare operators to train themselves at any time and from any location and available information to be greatly increased. Traditional web systems are too simple to be really effective and the commercial eLearning platforms require a complex configuration and are too ?technical? for costumers. VHCC is developing new system with the following features: structured courses, innovation in content, online interactivity and minimum configuration of users.

Human resources:

Dr. Ekaterine Kldiashvili: Executive Director of Georgian Telemedicine Union (Association), Dipl. Biologist, Ph.D. She is guiding and managing eHealth actions in Georgia. Dr. Berishvili Teimuraz: Communication Expert of Georgian Telemedicine Union, Dipl. Engineer, Ph.D. He is responsible for working out the best and the most appropriate communication model for eHealth action in Georgia by taking into account the country specificity. Dr. Gvetadze Konstantin: Director of Kutaisi Public Health Regional Center, MD, Ph.D. He is responsible for practical implementation of eHealth. Dr. Donara Kevlishvili: Medical Expert of Georgian Telemedicine Union, MD. She is responsible for supervising of eHealth actions and working out of eHealth focusing CME and training programs.

Key operational partnerships:
Impact
Financial Sustainability:

<ul><li class="entry-label">Fees charged to clients?: <span class="entry-text">No</span></li><li class="entry-label">How do you assure affordability?: <span class="entry-text">Virtual Health Care Center is NATO Networking Infrastructure Project.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Earned incomes as a percentage of operating costs: <span class="entry-text">0%</span></li><li class="entry-label">Other funding sources: <span class="entry-text">eHealth is the new and innovative field for Georgia which is at the beginning stage of development. Due to he objective that the communication costs and especially service of Internet Service Providers are very high in regions, the granting policy should be used for implementation of eHealth in Georgia. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Strategy for long-term sustainability: <span class="entry-text">eHealth strongly depends upon communication and computer technologies, that is why it is planned to collaborate with national and international companies and organizations and obtain support from them. The participation in different scientific programes is also planned.</span></li></ul>

Current and Future Impact:

<ul><li class="entry-label">Total number of clients: <span class="entry-text">4000</span></li><li class="entry-label">Clients in the past year: <span class="entry-text">241</span></li><li class="entry-label">Percentage of low-income clients: <span class="entry-text">75%</span></li><li class="entry-label">Impact: <span class="entry-text">VHCC is the most important for the ensuring the safe primary medical care in Georgia. The first contact of patients needing medical help is the contact with the local primary care health center. Second opinions from specialists are often required in primary care health centers. VHCC has the potential for offering following qualitative and quantitative improvements: 1. Distance consultations, diagnosis and advice for treatment. 2. Opening up new ways for education and training. Improvement in qualification of national specialist and health technicians, by opening up international medical databases. 3. Overall improvement of service by regional centralization of resources. 4. Effectiveness and efficiency in management of actions related to reduction of waiting times for consultations. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Overall "market": <span class="entry-text">eHealth is the perfect possibility realize medical service without taking into account time and distance. Taking into account the possibilities and advantages of eHealth and espaiclly of distance consultations and eLearning the usage of VHCC by Ukraine, Lithuania, Lybia, Nigeria and other countries as the background for their eHealth activity is planned. </span></li></ul>

Scaling up strategy:
Stage of the initiative:

<i>Start Up</i> stage.

Expansion plan:

The future plans are focusing upon expansion of VHCC through creation of more telemedicine units in Georgia and also through creation of several virtual units. In particular, as a result of analysis of obtained practical results it was revealed that it will be actual and effective to create Virtual Pathology Unit, Virtual Tuberculosis Unit, Virtual Oncology Unit and etc. Through this it will be possible to solve several problems existing in Georgian healthcare, to enhanse the efficacy of VHCC and to realize the collaboration of healthcare professionals in the most effective and comprehensive schema.

Origin of the initiative:

The initiative was started by Dr. Kldiashvili Ekaterine, Executive Director of Georgian Telemedicine Union (Association).

Sustainability
Policy change:

It will be actual to enhance the resources of public health system is Georgia by practical application of eHealth possibilities.