ERCIM News No.29 - April 1997

European Health Telematics Observatory

by Vesa Pakarinen

The European Health Telematics Observatory (EHTO) is a 'horizontal' approach for a Preparatory and Accompanying Measure under the Healthcare Sector of the Telematics Application Programme (4th Framework Programme 1996-98, Area C, Sector 7) of the European Union. It offers a coordinated approach to the dissemination and visibility of Healthcare Telematics project results, allowing a more efficient integration of telematics within the different health systems in Europe. EHTO will contribute to the deployment of health telematics technologies, applications and standards. The key objective is to become a bridge between supply and demand.

From the experience obtained under previous Framework Programmes, it has become clear that little information is available about the overall impact of health telematics R&D on the health care sector, on the health telematics market and on society more generally.

EHTO will collect, analyze and make available in a coherent and user-friendly form a wide range of information on developments in the field of health telematics, using a range of methods and tools varying from traditional publications and workshops to multi-media services.

The main office of EHTO is situated in Brussels, Rue des Palais 34

B-1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 2 229 16 01
Fax. +32 2 218 76 33
E-mail :

Objectives of the project

Strategic analysis of the products and prototypes produced within the Health Telematics Programme according to some fairly specific criteria would therefore constitute a first important stage of the work to be accomplished. Another essential element of the work will be to initiate the scientific analysis of the results of projects according to their impact on certain more transversal issues: quality of health care delivery, health care organization, economic and social aspects, legal and ethical issues and the competitiveness of European industry.

The European Health Telematics Observatory will represent an unrivaled source of health telematics information, carefully analyzed and classified. Equipped with a Demonstration Site, itself the hub of a group of satellite centers (the first four outside Brussels opened in March 1997 in Spain, Portugal, France and Greece), it will bring together in theme-specific workshops and cascade conferences the entire range of actors from the health telematics sector, including top policy makers.

By virtue of its multi-faceted approach to health telematics, the Observatory will rapidly constitute a European pole of information and activity, and a starting point for health telematics deployment.

The Observatory will be in a strong position to capture all the know-how and experience of the sector. It will carry this forward to the future, serving as a catalyst for new initiatives in the context of the Global Information Society.

The members of the EHTO consortium are CENTIS (Portugal), RAMIT (Belgium), CNEH (France), IHC (Ireland), ISCARLOS III (Spain), BIOTRAST (Greece) and VTT Information Technology (Finland). The main role of the ERCIM member, VTT, is to take care of the Quality Management in the Project.

The address of the EHTO web-server is

Please contact:
Vesa Pakarinen - VTT
Fax: +358 3 317 4102

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