The 2023 European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) Special Topic Conference (STC) was held in Turin, Italy, on October 25–27, 2023. The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) was co-chaired by Mauro Giacomini, Head of the Health Informatics Laboratory at the University of Genoa, Italy, and Chair of the EFMI Translational Health Informatics Working Group, and by Lăcrămioara Stoicu-Tivadar, University Politehnica Timisoara, Romania.
The theme of STC 2023 was Telehealth Ecosystems in Practice.
Telemedicine concerns all health services provided remotely, and is seen as an innovative medical practice in contrast to traditional face-to-face interactions. It allows for the breaking down of geographical distance and aims to equalise access to care by using information and communication technologies (ICTs), thereby enabling the secure transmission and sharing of medical data and information for the monitoring and controlling of patients’ clinical status. Throughout the last two decades, the European Community has been supporting telemedicine through the funding of several research projects powered by technological development and this has prompted an increased interest in telemedicine. But despite the opportunities and benefits related to telemedicine services, their large-scale spread has mainly been slowed down to date by the high cost of technologies, the absence or inadequacy of laws related to eHealth and privacy, the poor capability of elderly patients to use ICT, the frequently unpredictable evolutionary speed of patient status, and sometimes also by the lack of qualified actors. In order to support the recovery and resilience of Member States, the European Union has approved the Next Generation EU programme, which allocates €750 billion. One of the aims of this ambitious project, which will end by 2026, was to improve the digital transition of healthcare systems. All beneficiary countries have defined their priorities but in many cases, have also allocated substantial resources to strengthen their national health systems, enhancing the protection against environmental and climate-change-related health risks with the aim of better responding to the needs of communities with regard to local care and assistance. Local healthcare assistance is, in many cases, fragmented and subject to regional disparities, which can result in different levels of healthcare provision and health outcomes across regions. The provision of integrated home-care services is considered to be low, and the different healthcare and social service providers are considered to be only weakly integrated in many national plans. One of the answers most relied upon to solve these problems is telehealth. For this reason, we have decided to dedicate this conference to an international exchange of views on this topic, focusing both on the theoretical content, but also on the perspectives of real applications of innovations derived from scientific and technological research.
These proceedings present full papers and short communications covering a broad range of topics and methods in telemedicine, as well as a smaller selection from the broader sub-domains of biomedical informatics. The proceedings are published online with open access and indexed in the major bibliographic databases such as Medline and Scopus to ensure visibility to the wider scientific community. We would like to thank all members of the SPC for their hard work and commitment in managing the submissions and the programme: Gabriella Balestra, Arriel Benis, Stefano Bonacina, Alessio Bottrighi, Thomas Deserno, Parisis Gallos, Lenka Lhotska, Sara Marceglia, Alejandro C. Pazos Sierra, Samanta Rosati, and Lucia Sacchi. We also thank all of our authors for submitting their work, our peer reviewers for volunteering their time and expertise to ensure the quality of the programme, and, once again Gabriella Balestra and Samanta Rosati for leading the work of the local organising committee, which handled all the practical arrangements for the conference.
Mauro Giacomini and Lăcrămioara Stoicu-Tivadar