Suffering from regulatory problems
Patient monitoring technology offers enormous benefits for the patient. But reimbursement is insufficiently regulated all over Europe. Therefore, telemedicine generates a loss for the physicians although it can very well cut costs for all parties involved and improve the quality of care.
A scientific study evaluating the telemedical care of pacemaker patients has just been finalised by the Center for Healthcare Management at the Handelshochschule Leipzig (HHL). The project, which included the analysis of 98 studies throughout Europe and a benefit assessment, was designed to help make fundamental decisions regarding the further application of telemedical procedures.
The study was commissioned by Eucomed, an association of more than 60 leading medical technology manufacturers in Europe, among others Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Biotronik and Medtronic. The results will also be made available to the European Commission which is about to launch a communication campaign for telemedicine.
Advantage: Patients throughout Europe benefit from remote monitoring
”Most health insurers and hospitals have recognised that remote patient monitoring technology, if applied correctly, offers enormous benefits for the patient. Our research project for the first time looked at the European dimension of this issue and provides scientific evidence of the benefit,“ explains Dr Christian Elsner, Director of the Center for Healthcare Management.
Disadvantage: Telemedicine is suffering from pan-European regulatory problems
The researches also assessed the regulatory frameworks and found out that most European countries face very similar problems: reimbursement is insufficiently regulated which means the use of telemedicine de facto generates a loss for the physicians although the technology as such can very well cut costs for all parties involved and improve the quality of care.
”Today, throughout Europe the introduction of telemedicine in pacemaker follow-up care suffers from classical regulatory problems. A paradoxical situations since adequate reimbursement would save costs at other points of the healthcare system”, says Dennis Häckl, research director at the Center for Healthcare Management.
At the Center, an action plan is thus being developed which will facilitate implementation of structured reimbursement and which will recommend regulatory measures. The Center for Healthcare Management cooperates with several partners on the design and implementation of such a new reimbursement system. A pilot project is scheduled to be presented in early 2009.
Since its inception in 2005, the Center for Healthcare Management at the Handelshochschule Leipzig has gained a high reputation as international partner for cost-benefit analyses, eHealth, reimbursement systems and healthcare insurance/re-insurance solutions. Last year, the Center organised the international MEDNET congress with participants from more than 25 countries on these issues.
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