Telemedicine, the use of ICT to exchange health information and to provide healthcare services across geographic, time, social, and cultural barriers, is expected to become a key component of ongoing healthcare. There have been many telemedicine projects since the 90s, but these have often failed to be adopted into routine clinical practice. In fact, the heterogeneity and complexity of this field have made it difficult to provide an appropriate and comprehensive assessment of the benefits and implications for clinical practice taking into account all of the different stakeholders.
Given this need, it is relevant to provide an assessment framework that might support decision makers in deciding whether to introduce telemedicine applications into routine hea lthcare or not. Since 2007, I made a significant theoretical research activity in order to explore the assessment models of telemedicine services, which represent the main issue of my PhD thesis. As result, a prescriptive framework for the assessment of t elemedicine services has been published on the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management (Masella and Zanaboni, 2008). Empirical research has also been conducted through the participation to many Italian telemedicine projects.
The Norw egian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (NST) in Tromsø has recently started, in February 2009, the MethoTelemed project (Tender SMART 2008/0064 - O.J.2008/S 107-142555) and it will publish, in early 2010, for the European Commission a Guidance for methodology to assess telemedicine applications in Europe. Due to the research similarities of my Doctoral thesis with the MethoTelemed project, we agreed to join our work through a collaboration during the next months. Therefore, the YGGDRASIL mobili ty programme for international Ph.D. students represents a unique opportunity to support a future research stay in Norway during the Academic Year 2009-2010.