Telemedicine brings mutual benefits to Denmark and the Baltic States  

2008.06.06
ICT initiative enables Danish patients have their X-ray photographs assessed by Latvian and Lithuanian experts without the need for them to leave their home countries
When patients have X-ray photographs taken at Svenborg Hospital on the Danish island of Fyn, the experts who study the resulting images and then deliver their analyses may well be sitting nearly 1000 kilometres away in Latvia or Lithuania.
 
It's called telemedicine, and is one of the results of a now-completed 3 year project called Baltic eHealth run by the Southern Denmark health authority. The project has not only been a success for patient care in a rural part of Denmark, but has also gained approbation on the international stage in the form of a Laureate award from Computerworld Honors Program, which recognises innovations make a difference by utilising technology to bring a particular benefit to society. The award was presented in Washington on 2 June.
 
The project illustrates how ICT technology can be utilised to link countries together in beneficial ways regardless of geographical separation. In Denmark there is a shortage of radiologists, while in Latvia and Lithuania they cannot find enough employment. Telemedicine solves the problem without the need for physical relocation, and patient care improves as a result.
 
Director of Odense University Hospital Peder Jest says: "Baltic eHealth is one of many examples showing that this is the right way to go. The important point is that it counteracts 'brain drain' where specialists are attracted away from an impoverished economy to countries where they can earn more and build their careers. With Baltic eHealth the experts get both benefits, but can stay in their home country where there is a great need for them."

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