PrimCareIT

Timetable: 01.01.2012 – 31.03.2014

PrimCareIT: Counteracting brain drain and professional isolation of health professionals in remote primary care through tele-consultation and tele-mentoring to strengthen social conditions in remote BSR

Background:

PrimCareIT was an international health technology project led by South Ostrobothnia Health Care District and coordinated from South Ostrobothnia Health Technology Development Centre. The project brought together 16 partners from 7 Baltic Sea Region countries – Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden – and was initiated under the eHealth for Regions network.

Project aims:

The overall aim of the PrimCareIT project was to raise the attractiveness of remote primary health care for medical professionals by the means of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring. Through piloting tele-consultation and tele-mentoring solutions, partners explored whether these methods can help to counteract professional isolation and brain drain in remote primary health care.

PrimCareIT received a flagship project status of the EU’s Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), because the project contributed to fulfilling the strategy objectives in its priority area of health.

Project and results:

The project was divided into six main components, in which the project partners researched the existing tele-consultation and tele-mentoring practices in the Baltic Sea Region, analyzed potential risks and tested the developed tele-consultation and tele-mentoring solutions in the pilot sites in partner countries. Furthermore, PrimCareIT partners worked on raising the political awareness by disseminating the discovered strategic opportunities and by organizing joint transnational conclusions in the Baltic Sea Region. Several documents were prepared, e.g.:

  • Transnational strategy paper to attract health professionals to remote primary care
  • Handbook with good practices and guidelines for implementing tele-consultation and tele-mentoring
  • Joint transnational conclusions and political statements underlining the role and importance of tele-health to attract health workers to remote primary care

During the project, 12 tele-consultation and tele-mentoring pilots were carried out in remote primary health care in six partner countries. Through pilots, it was concluded that with successful implementation, tele-mentoring and tele-consultation have a positive influence in the daily work of health care professionals in remote primary care:

  • Possibilities for professional networking, peer support and  information exchange were enhanced
  • Significant time and cost savings were achieved as distance meetings/lectures replaces some of the traditional meetings/lectures (less time spent for traveling)
  • New work methods were enabled in countries which didn’t have previous consultation or mentoring routines

Funding:

The project was funded by the European Union’s Interreg IVB programme (Baltic Sea Region programme 2007-2013). Finnish partners were also supported by The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

Project partners:

 

More information:

PrimCareIT project website: www.primcareit.net.

Sami Perälä
Executive director
South Ostrobothnia Health Technology Development Centre (EPTEK)

Minna Luhtanen
Coordinator of international projects
South Ostrobothnia Health Technology Development Centre (EPTEK)