Foundations for the National Telehealth Strategy in Slovenia

A silent revolution has been going on in many countries worldwide by introducing telehealth services into the existing telecare systems. The Slovenian Medical Informatics Association (SIMIA) has been aware of the needs to introduce this radical change also to the Slovenian healthcare system. As the Slovenian Ministry of Health has not yet prepared a national strategy on telehealth services, SIMIA decided to facilitate this process by preparing grounds for the national strategy. In 2012 SIMIA working group prepared a document “Foundations for the National Telehealth Strategy of Slovenia”.

In the document telehealth services are presented. A contribution is given to unification of terminology related to the services in the Slovenian language. A state-of-the-art in telehealth in Slovenia and Europe is reviewed. The needs to ensure legal and ethical basis for these services are given and the expected effects of service implementation, including economical ones are reviewed. The document emphasises a need for a strategic approach within the strategy and points to the steps that need to be taken by a team preparing the strategy in order to enable access to new types of services to the Slovenian users (healthy people as well as patients) in the near future for maintaining or gaining health. An important purpose of the document was also to define liability for the realisation of individual goals in the suggested strategy.

The document was validated through an open discussion with experts in healthcare informatics and other professionals in 2012. In 2013 the document received endorsement by over 15 key stakeholders in healthcare. In Sept. 2013 the document was passed to the Ministry of health as a professional contribution of the SIMIA members for the preparation of the Slovenian telehealth strategy.