The Digital Health and Innovations Cluster Bulgaria launched a project to create a model for the integration of telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare system.
The reality of 2020 and the challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic raise the question of what the future of healthcare is to come. Despite significant efforts, the pandemic has put tremendous pressure on healthcare systems around the world, threatening the quality of patient care. Among the solutions to these challenges is telemedicine, which enables the creation of complex follow-up care leading to effective prevention, diagnosis and a personalized approach to patient treatment.
In the wake of the pandemic, the use of virtual care and telemedicine have been established as an essential component for the delivery of quality and affordable health care. Health system governance in Europe will continue to invest and rethink health systems to ensure that telemedicine and other digital health technologies are enhanced and adapted to emerging regulations and ever-changing patient demand.
In line with its mission for supporting a sustainable and efficient data and technology-driven health system, the DHI Cluster has launched a project to build a comprehensive model for the integration of telemedicine in Bulgaria, including a training programme and an advocacy campaign.
The project focuses on providing recommendations and solutions for the development of the regulatory framework and the implementation of public policies related to the active introduction of telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare and has 3 specific objectives:
1. Improving the regulatory framework and regulations in the health sector with a focus on telemedicine through partnership management with citizens and businesses.
2. Increasing the interaction between the administration, citizens and business in the creation, monitoring and implementation of telemedicine as a method for increasing access and quality of health care.
3. Achieve a mechanism for open and responsible policymaking and legislation in the health sector on telemedicine, addressing the needs and requirements of patients.
The project will evolve with the following activities:
✔️Activity 1. Research and analysis of the legal framework and assessment of the benefits and impact of the implementation of telemedicine, to be implemented through 1️⃣Study and analysis of the current European and national regulations in the field of telemedicine; 2️⃣Study of the benefits and effects of the implementation of telemedicine.
✔️Activity 2. Development of a model with recommendations for introduction of telemedicine in the Bulgarian healthcare, to be implemented through 1️⃣Conducting 2 focus groups to discuss the possibilities for integrating telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare; 2️⃣Developing a model for integrating telemedicine in Bulgarian healthcare.
✔️Activity 3. Advocacy campaign for the introduction of telemedicine in Bulgaria, to be implemented through: 1️⃣Conducting a workshop with representatives from the government, NGOs, and health sectors on topics related to telemedicine as part of digital health; 2️⃣ Conducting a sociological survey to identify the training needs for the development of telemedicine skills among medical students and doctors; 3️⃣ Developing a telemedicine training program for medical students and present it to representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science and medical universities in Bulgaria.
✔️Activity 4. Information activities for increasing the civic participation in the processes of introduction of telemedicine in the Bulgarian healthcare, to be implemented through 1️⃣Conducting an information campaign on social media to promote the benefits of the introduction of telemedicine; 2️⃣Conducting a final conference to present the results of the project.
As a final result of the project implementation, it is expected to achieve a broad understanding and support among the representatives of the target groups on the specific health care needs that will be addressed with the introduction of telemedicine as a method for effective delivery of health services to the population.
The project “Improving policies and regulatory framework in the field of telemedicine” is funded by the Operational Program “Good Governance”.