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Newsletters > October 2011 > Feedback from the Timis Study Visit
Two UK policy experts attended the PEOPLE Study Visit held in Timisaura, Romania 28-29 June 2011 and provided some interesting feedback form the event.

Bruce Don, Independent Management consultant and expert in healthcare information management and technology wrote:

A diverse programme of presentations and visits were organised, with an emphasis on e-health and the use of ICT to enable social objectives.

In Timis County, for example, ICMed is used by more than 50% of GPs, and many specialists, covering some 60% of the population. The Personal Health Record is a service offered to ordinary citizens on a commercial basis (access costs around 10 Euros per year), but only approximately 300 people currently use this service. This finding strongly parallels experience with the UK's Summary Care Record (SCR), where only a very small proportion of the population have, so far, opted to view their SCR on HealthSpace (which is free). A recent review found that just 752 patients out of more than 1.2m who have a SCR have opted to access it.

The level of system/service development and its future potential is impressive. For example, a Smartphone application has been developed allowing access to the e-record anytime, anywhere. Therefore, a key lesson for the UK, as it contemplates ICT after the demise of NPfIT, is that small-scale, local innovation must not be stifled.

Carl Petrokofsky, Specialist in Public Health for the Department of Health South East in the UK wrote:

Tim Teen IT Summer School: the young adults we met were just a joy to be with. Enthusiastic, articulate (in English as well as Romanian), confident. They described the projects they had been developing and were very aware of both the IT and technical as well as the social element of the team working which the project had engendered. To this extent the Summer School seemed an absolute success. In terms of future policy – the real challenge will be how such an ‘incubator' can be used to reach a much wider number of high school students in future. The dozen or so teenagers we met had been chosen partly because they possessed some of the skills they were able to display so confidently when we met them. The challenge must be to how to mainstream in some way such an undoubtedly successful programme.

A general observation and policy recommendation for the People Programme is that overall there has been little work which has been undertaken to see how technology could be used and adapted on a population basis to improve public health and wellbeing. Such projects could help improve the health literacy of the population and promote informed choice for healthy lifestyles and behaviours and begin to make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of say a regional population.

The full reports from both Bruce and Carl have been uploaded to the PEOPLE website and can be viewed here: