The country’s first trans-regional centre for telemedicine to be launched in early 2012

Over the next three years, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the EU are to promote telemedical treatments such as teletherapy and telemonitoring, teleconsultations and teleradiology with a total sum of ten million euros. “These technologies have enormous potential and we should make the most of this, particularly to compensate for shortfalls in healthcare provision in rural regions, for example,” explains Health Minister Barbara Steffens in Düsseldorf. “Compared with the rest of Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia has the most telemedicine projects. However, telemedicine has not progressed very far beyond project status yet,” the Minister has said.

Experts estimate that the ratio of telemedical provision in North Rhine-Westphalia currently amounts to less than one percent. The principle aim of the sponsorship is to set up a nationwide centre for telemedicine which will be established as a separate department at the ZTG Competence Centre for HealthCare Telematics in Bochum.

The regional government and the EU have additionally set aside a sum of 8.5 million euros to fund telemedicine projects in rehabilitation, intensive-care medicine, oncology, and telemedical image data communication (TeBiKom, Bochum), as well as the creation of a telemedical infrastructure in the East-Westphalia-Lippe region as part of the European Development Fund’s Phase 2 competition, IuK & Gender Med.NRW.

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