G-7 : Global healthcare network perspectives

Michel Richonnier
European Commission, DGXIII.C.
Brussels, Belgium

On February 25th, the G-7 took the opportunity offered by the Ministerial Conference to identify some selected projects where international co-operation could be an asset. These projects would aim at demonstrating the potential of the Information Society and stimulate its deployment. The projects will be initially undertaken by the G7 partners but are meant to be open to other partners including international organisations.

Eleven projects have been selected and, for each of them, an operational co-ordinator has been proposed:

The objectives of the Global Healthcare Applications project are to improve existing international co-operation through the development of modern cost effective and user friendly multimedia telematics applications and to demonstrate that they can contribute to better health for citizens. Interoperable solutions that protect the confidentiality of patient information will be prerequisite.

The project itself is split in 6 sub-projects:

  1. GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH NETWORK The EU and WHO/Copenhagen are strongly committed. Two main areas are identified: Communicable diseases and vital statistics. The feasibility studies for interconnection of the various national databanks and the CDC/Wonder are in progress. A meeting is scheduled on 8th September in London in this regard.
  2. CANCER NETWORK The main databanks selected for interconnection are: Best medical practice and recommended protocols, bone marrow-donors, technical assessment of medical technologies and procedures used for diagnosis and treatment.
  3. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES NETWORK The main topics concern epidemiological data and clinical protocols.
  4. A 24-HOUR MULTILINGUAL TELEMEDICINE SURVEILLANCE AND EMERGENCY SERVICE Is the 4th sub-project. An international meeting is scheduled for next November in Toulouse as a starting point for future collaboration. Many states including Australia are interested by this topic.
  5. THE INTERNATIONAL HARMONISATION OF DATA CARDS IN HEALTHCARE Is a key international issue for the future because the cards are one of the entry-points of the Health Care Information System.
  6. THE ENABLING MECHANISMS Sub-projects cover harmonisation with respect to health nomenclature, standards, privacy and security of data, development of user friendly access tools and on-line translation services.
All these six sub-projects are now in progress. A global report is planned in December 1995 with detailed plan for starting implementation during 1996.

A first common element appears now: A very strong request comes from the healthcare professionals: they need a world-wide, updated, qualified information system including transfer of images; this request imposes new multimedia facilities, including broadband communication and interoperable devices.


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