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Telemed J E Health. 2009 May;15(4):379-86. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2009.0023.

Third intensive Balkan telemedicine and e-health seminar: current principles and practices of telemedicine and e-health--clinical applications and evidence-based outcomes: International Conference on Telemedicine and e-Health February 6-7, 2009 Skopje, Macedonia.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, International Virtual e-Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska.

Abstract

The region, which consists of the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, takes its name from the mountain range, the Balkans. The Balkans, a Turkish word for "chain of wooded mountains," covers an area of 700,000 km(2) region in Southeastern Europe and is home to over 55 million inhabitants. A decade of war and ethnic fighting in the 1990s destroyed the medical systems in place, creating a desperate need to rebuild a modern healthcare infrastructure. Telemedicine has been shown to be an effective tool in this regard. The adoption of telemedicine in the Balkans is firmly under way. Since its inception in 2001, the International Virtual e-Hospital (IVeH) has promoted the design, growth, and implementation of telemedicine in a variety of developing countries across the globe. Successful implementation of telemedicine in any region is based on a number of factors, each of great importance. However, one that is key is the education and training of community leadership. Over the past several years, the IVeH has held intensive seminars in the region to promote the application of telemedicine as an effective tool in healthcare modernization. This includes the First Intensive Balkan Telemedicine and e-Health Seminar in Prishtina, Kosova (2002) and the Second Intensive Balkan Telemedicine and e-Health Seminar in Tirana, Albania (2007). Recently, the third installment of these seminars was held in Skopje, Macedonia (February 2009). These three seminars have provided a fertile foundation for telemedicine to emerge as a significant tool in enhancing healthcare in this region. Each has broadened the understanding of the immense capability that telemedicine can offer and has acted as a catalyst for the development of telemedicine in the region. The Republic of Macedonia is the latest country to invest in telemedicine, having a formal commitment from the Ministry of Health to establish a national telemedicine effort. The following is a summary of the Third Intensive Balkan Telemedicine and e-Health Seminar.

PMID:
19441957
DOI:
10.1089/tmj.2009.0023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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