Global technology leaders call for faster progress on e-health standards

About 21 Chief Technical Officers (CTOs ) from leading companies in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry have urged the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to accelerate technical standardization work in the field of e-health.

According to the UN agency for information and communication technology, the CTOs stressed that reliable, interoperable standards are key to providing patients and health professionals with the means to utilize remote consultation services, advanced ICT-based diagnostic procedures and electronic health information services.

The organizations were Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Etisalat Group, Freescale, Fujitsu, Huawei, KDDI, Microsoft, Netscout Systems, Nokia Siemens Networks, NTT, Orange FT Group, Research In Motion, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telekom South Africa, Turk Telecom Group, Verizon, Vodafone Group, and ZTE.

“The meeting, which was held in Geneva during ITU Telecom World 2011, agreed that international coordination on standards will be vital, and that growth in telemedicine services will also demand aggressive roll-out of broadband networks,” said  the ITU in a statement October 25, 2011.

The statement added that the CTOs also encouraged the ITU to intensify its involvement by developing essential e-health infrastructure standards, and by cooperating with other standards bodies to create reliable, secure and interoperable e-health solutions.

On the topic of the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT-12), the ITU said the CTOs urged that any revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) maintain the necessary flexibility to enable continued growth in services.

In the area of technical standards for fixed networks, the meeting reached an important agreement on the need for a release-based approach, it noted.

By Ekow Quandzie

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