PROJECT COMES TO AN END
A reflection on achievements and looking to the future...
The ITTS Project has now come to an end.
Having commenced in September 2011, the project ended with a final conference in Scotland on 11-12 March 2014.
Over the course of the project ITTS supported the development of telemedicine solutions at 48 sites across northern Europe, improving accessibility and situating health services in local communities to the benefit of over 4,000 patients.
Benefits of ITTS implementations include:
- reducing clinician travel time, which can lead to increased appointment availability and cost reductions;
- reducing patient travel time;
- providing access to specialist services both within the region and at large national centres;
- improvements in the equality of care delivery, where rurality is a barrier to access;
- reduction in emergency transport and hospital admission through remotely delivered specialist assessments;
ITTS succeeded in making a positive difference to health service delivery in remote and rural locations across northern Europe. The demonstrators now in place have been designed to be sustainable, and are part of everyday practice. In supporting patient self-care and health management at home, the project has boosted the resilience of rural communities, enabling patients to live healthily and happily in their own homes and communities for longer.
Enormous thanks are due to everyone involved – project staff, health service workers, patients, all the various organisations that contributed and, not least, the funding bodies who made the whole project possible. Your input has been invaluable. And for those with whom the project came into contact with, we hope that our actions were both useful and successful.
Although the project has finished, we hope the services developed will continue to flourish and evolve. The experiences and learning established during the project have been captured and presented in the ITTS publication, Telemedicine into Everyday Practice – an interactive guide and 'checklist' which, we hope, will enable the start-up of ITTS-type services in further communities throughout the Northern Periphery and beyond.
Learning from the project will be used to shape a future digital agenda for health service provision and formulate practical recommendations on what needs to change in local, national and international policy to develop this strategy.
International knowledge exchange has been key in optimising the implementation and sustainability of these new services: collaboration provides a mechanism for advancing telemedicine into everyday practice and creating professional networks. Much work remains to be done to further broaden the use of telemedicine in the region. Building on the strength of our transnational partnership we hope to continue the momentum of ITTS and are actively seeking new funding streams to continue our work. So, ITTS over… but not for long! Watch this space!
"Through the ITTS Project we have learnt the benefits of transnational knowledge exchange and we have made tangible results from the investment of bringing these people together.” Dr David Heaney – ITTS Project Director
“I thought the idea of telemedicine was an excellent one particularly for remote areas. It makes so much sense for both patient and practitioner. I look forward to seeing telemedicine widely available to everyone in remote or isolated situations.” Val Moffat – ITTS Citizen Panel member (Scotland)