Progress in Preparations for Launching Telemedicine and eHealth Initiatives in Armenia: A Report on Recent Activities by the Armenian Association of Telemedicine (AATM)
Global Telemedicine and eHealth Updates: Knowledge Resources, vol. 3
Armenian Association of Telemedicine (AAT M) is a non-governmental, non-pr ofit organization founded in De cember 2008 in Yerevan, Armenia. The mission of AATM is to promote development of Telemedicine and eHe alth field in Armenia, via cooperation with central and local governmental structures, assistance in Telemedicine and eHealth initiatives, cooperation with major local and international institutions, organiz ations and companies, and devel opment of educational activities. Sinc e 2009 AATM is a national mem ber from Armenia to the International Society for Telemedici ne and e Health (ISfTeH). In the past one year since its creation AATM established partnership with many local and international stakeholders in the field of Telemedici ne and eHe alth; performed extensive e valuation of the field and c onsultations needed to initiate relevant activities; presented its vi sion and stra tegy t o resp onsible go vernmental bodi es, a nd obtained their support for proposed activities; participated in a series of local and international scientific and working meetings; and outlined concepts of s everal s trategic long-term projects, to be developed i n detail, prepared, implemented, and monitored during a time period of five years. These include: Elaboration of Strategic Plan of Long-Term Development of eHealth Applications and Services in Armenia (eHealth Master Plan). The focus on eHealth development is driven by major challenges that health care systems ar ound the gl obe are facing. WHO has re commended all member states “to consider drawing up a long-term strategic plan for developing and implementi ng eHealth services in the various areas of health sector ”. To address the issue AATM establ ished a wor king group (eHealth Tas k F orce) with participation of government authorities, NGOs, academic and rese arch centers, ICTrepresentatives, and leading experts in the field, to develop and present to the government a strategic plan for eHealth (eHealth Master Plan). The Task Force has performed initial consultations with local and international experts, and started pre-assessment of the field, as well as adopted a working plan and schedule. In the forthcoming months the work will be continued to define necessary standards and requirements for implementing eHealth applications, and develop a template for the Plan. Establishment, Development & Maintenance of National Telemedicine Network in Armenia. Telemedicine in Armenia has potential to improve performance and cost-effectiveness of health care system, considering severe concentration of health care resources in the metropolitan areas and decreased availability of specialized care in the rural regions, as well as financial limitations. AATM proclaimed long-term goal to establish, develop, operate and maintain a comprehensive nation-wide telemedicine network connecting together all country’s health care facilities, as well as providing them with access to leading international health care institutions. As initial step in implementation of the above, AATM is launching a pilot telemedicine connection between a community primary care facility and consult site in Yerevan, to serve as a model for future telemedicine network. Two other strategic programs (Promotion of Home Telecare Services, and Development of Mobile eHealth Applications in Armenia) are currently at preliminary stage of establishing cooperation with interested stakeholders, designing methodology, and collecting necessary data.