The paramount objective of the "Chain of Trust" project is to advance the empowerment of patients, health professionals and national health authorities across the EU in their understanding and effective use of telehealth services in an effort to actively contribute to the vision of high quality, patient-centred, equitable healthcare for all EU patients.
Through a series of focused and well defined actions the project will strengthen significantly the levels of awareness and trust for all key stakeholders.
To this end two specific objectives have been identified:
1. Knowledge gathering. To improve available knowledge of the specific views – needs, perceptions on the added value and concerns - among patients and health professionals with regard to telehealth services;
2. Rasing awareness and understanding. To increase awareness and understanding of users` perspective on telehealth amongst patients` and health professionals` organisations and health authorities at European and Member State level.
The project is directly relevant to the objectives set out in COM(2008) 689 on Telemedicine calling for recommendations from patients’ and health professionals’ groups. The project recommendations will be also of extreme value for Member States to shape their telemedicine strategies, for the EC and EP to support this process and for key stakeholders to engage and promote the uptake of telehealth.
The Chain of Trust project fits directly with priority 1 of the Second Public Health Programme "Improve citizens` health security" and specifically with priority 22.214.171.124. of the 2009 Work Plan-under which the project was submitted-aimed at developing specific recommendations on how to improve confidence in and acceptance of telemedicine, also taking into account ethical and privacy related aspects. The new knowledge base and awareness that will be produced throughout the project will also contribute to supporting the work of the e-health High Level Joint Initiative where a specific Task Force on `trust` is set up.
Means and methods are structured around the two main components of the project, i.e. knowledge gathering and awareness-raising.
With regard to the first component, the project will use a number of approaches to assess the views of patients and health professionals with a focus on qualitative information, including: a literature review; an on-line survey targeting all target groups-doctors, patients, nurses and pharmacists; 6 Joint National Workshops in different countries selected according to specific criteria; 4 focus groups at European level with the four target groups.
In relation to the second component the project will: hold 6 National Roundtables targeting all relevant telehealth stakeholders with attached press conferences; build synergies with other telehealth events and projects; organise final conference gathering high-level national, EU and international representatives; produce a documentary presenting main views of target groups and a final report with specific recommendations.
Two main outcomes have been identified for this the project.
-By delivering an unprecedented assessment of the views, needs, benefits and barriers related to telehealth from the perspective of patients and health professionals and delivering an evidence-based set of recommendations the project will constitute a unique tool to better inform policies and decision-making at various levels: in primis the European Commission, Member States` health authorities, European Parliament, WHO, OECD, Council of Europe, Committee of the Regions, patient organisations and health professionals` associations.
-Strengthening significantly the mutual understanding and the levels of awareness and trust among all key stakeholders involved in telehealth with a view to fostering a more informed, consistent and effective use of telehealth services throughout Europe.