English (United Kingdom)Hungarian (formal)
The project (TECH_08-D3-2008-0053)  is funded by the Research and Technology Innovation Fund and supported by the National Development Agency.
SCM article 3/2009 PDF Print E-mail

What necessitates integrative approaches for the completion of the process of innovation?

Innovation differs from creativity in that it signifies a process. The first step in this process is a new idea, concept or vision, which is the basis to any kind of development. However, this first step can only evolve into innovation if it is implemented, that is, if the idea or concept invented is applied in common practice as well. In our world, dozens of technical and technological novelties appear on scientific forums day by day, however, only a fragment of them will be actually manufactured thus achieving the state of real innovation and becoming an integral part of our lives. The interaction and cooperation of different fields of research and disciplines form the basis of an integrative approach, which in turn facilitates the seamless incorporation of new products and solutions produced by the development of sciences and technologies into those social and economic structures that will be the users and beneficiaries of them.

Thus, integration supports the use and value creation of the products created by the innovational process. A joint R&D project of healthcare and information technology, launched in September 2008, eHealth8 pursues this integrative approach. The aim of the project is to create a comprehensive process management system that reaches beyond the scope of Telemedicine. Though, there were separate attempts on different interrelated fields, but such a complex and integrative project has not been conceived yet. Today, we are witnessing the fast paced transformation of healthcare systems both in the EU and in Hungary. There are new healthcare funding models being introduced on an experimental basis, healthcare policy systems organized and ceased. Patient services are shifting towards a more transparent, accountable, and protocol-based approach. Due to the fast development of medical sciences, newer and newer diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities are asserting themselves in ordinary patient services. The new innovative methods and devices are expensive almost without exception, and their implementation is only possible if we get rid of all processes that turn out to be ineffective and uneconomical. The above described processes keep foregrounding those methods and solutions that facilitate rationalization, differentiability and efficiency improvement of healthcare services.

eHEALTH8 – a Healthcare and IT R&D Project for the Distance-Healthcare System of the Future

The core framework of objectives of the R&D project are grouped around the aims defined in the National Technology Programme’s Competitive Industry sub-programme and ICT Devices Supported Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) dedicated thematic area, while conforming to the objectives of Life Sciences sub-program as well. The consortium was formed under the leadership of Answare Kft. by renowned IT and medical experts in cooperation with Bay Zoltán Foundation for Applied Research, HumanSoft Kft., Semmelweis University, and Thormed Kft. The successful implementation of the project is guaranteed by a team of cooperating specialists with significant national and international scientific reputation and experience in research, development, and system integration. The greatest novelty of the eHEALTH8 project on the national and international stage resides in the complex approach to its topic. Thus, our aim is not only to develop a prototype of any telemedicine system, but the establishment of a telemedicine standard-, device-, and process system (platform) that is able to provide a well marketable, widely applicable (in different medical fields, pharmaceutical industry as well as in the healthcare consumer market), and flexible solution by means of the representation of a standardized medical protocol and a set of tools aiming at mobility. Telemedicine solutions that are able to follow and implement the regulatory systems of medical protocols are expected to become ever more widespread among healthcare systems, while becoming increasingly in demand among patients both in Hungary and other countries of the European Union. Since this project elaborates the guidelines for the medical protocols in Hungary by taking into account and summarizing international experience, the evolving new protocols can constitute innovation not only in Hungary but abroad as well.

As a result of the activities of the consortium established under the leadership of Answer Kft, methodologies and technologies can be developed that facilitate the rationalization, differentiability and efficiency improvement of healthcare services. The Inter-institutional IT System developed within the framework of HEFOP 4.4 programme can operate as an independent unit as well, thus it can immediately provide Telemedicine services (telehomecare – telemonitoring - telerehabilitation) for 39 medical institutions.

In addition to this, the cost-effectiveness and health-gain analyses ensure the profitability of the evolving solutions. Further advantages of the protocol-based approach: 

  • provides consistent, high quality patient services over the whole system;
  • provides a standardized interface for the service organizer and the patient service providers, facilitating the management of protocols (modification, defining new protocols, etc.);
  • through standardized description, it facilitates the recycling of expertise contained in the protocols;
  • it makes healthcare services traceable and accountable;
  • the formalized description facilitates the identification of errors and deficiencies;
  • due to the formalized description it facilitates quick and cost-effective system integration for differing applications (e.g.: pharmaceutical testing, recreational-, and sports centers, old people’s homes, etc.).

In the course of later developments, the evolving protocol repository can develop into a service system that can carry out the storage of general medical protocols, services and the follow-up of their implementation for insurance companies, supervisory authorities, and service providing institutions. The protocol-based approach to Telemedicine is a novelty not only in Hungary but in other countries of the European Union as well. As the aim of the project is to summarize the relevant international experience and develop Hungarian medical guidelines based on it, the resulting new protocols may appear as novelty both in Hungary and abroad. The project is pointing towards the development of new solutions not only in the field of protocols, but also in the fields of telemetric set of tools and embedded systems. The patient service and treatment processes not yet supported by Telemedicine methods, may later call for potentially new, at present not existing set of tools, measurement procedures, and arrangements within the limits of economic profitability.

In order to ensure the potential of Telemedicine applications to increase efficiency, the protocol-based approach is supplemented with a cost-efficiency-, and a feasibility analysis. These analyses may highlight the fields and processes of application that are expected to generate the greatest increase in efficiency and/or decrease of costs for the participants of healthcare service and/or financing systems under constant or increasing individual health gain in Hungary.