- Europe, because of its geographical location, strategic position on trade routes, and colonial past, has a long history of caring for travellers’ health. Within Europe, there is great diversity in the practice of travel medicine. Some countries have travel medicine societies and provisions for a periodic distribution of recommendations, but many countries have no national pre-travel guidelines and follow international recommendations such as those provided by the WHO.Providers of travel medicine include tropical medicine specialists, general practice nurses and physicians, specialist ‘travel clinics’, occupational physicians, and pharmacists. One of the core functions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control-funded network of travel and tropical medicine professionals, EuroTravNet, is to document the status quo of travel medicine in Europe. A three-pronged approach is used, with a real-time online questionnaire, a structured interview with experts in each country, and web searching.
Novel Strategic Trends in Europe
Predictive diagnostics is considered as the basis for targeted preventive measures and consequent development of individualized treatment approaches. Of paramount importance is the communication among professionals -medical doctors, biotechnologists, computer scientists, healthcare providers, policy-makers, educators -who are involved in the paradigm change from curative to predictive medicine. This is a new philosophy in healthcare and the platform for personalized patient s treatment, which is considered as medicine of future. The paradigm change can be achieved only by well-coordinated implementation of the following objectives:
- adequate investment in novel technologies,
- development of non- or minimally-invasive diagnostic tools,
- exchange and transfer of knowledge among biomedical research entities and biotechnological industries for the development of advanced diagnostic tools,
- quality assurance through the introduction of international standards for technological tools and devices, patents and licenses,
- professional education in terms of the application of biotechnological high-tech in medicine,
- regulation in the health-care sector: introduction of guidelines and clear regulations for the health insurance industry to ensure patients needs are met,
- measures to ensure confidentiality of patient information and personal databanks,
- distribution of relevant information among health-care professionals and users.
The overall concept of the paradigm change to predictive and personalized medicine is presented in the book authored by 60 leading experts from 16 countries: â€œPredictive Diagnostics and Personalized Treatment: Dream or Reality?â€ (O. Golubnitschaja, editor. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers Inc; 2009). The above given measures should be well-focused on solving the accumulating problems in health-care and the concomitant economical burden that societies across the globe are increasingly facing. The mission of the European Coordinator in this field is performed by the â€œEuropean Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalised Medicineâ€ (EPMA in Brussels).
The Association s structure includes National Representatives in all 27 country-members of the European Union, the Associated-Countries (eg, Israel, Turkey, Serbia, and Montenegro) and world-wide (currently Japan, India, and Taiwan). National Representatives consolidate and coordinate EPMA-related activities at the national level, closely working with issue-related national institutions, units, and groups such as patients associations, universities, research institution, state and private hospitals, industrial groups, political representatives, insurance, and other stakeholders.