Despite the social and economic importance of biomedical and health research, it was not until 1978 that the Commission of the European Communities was authorized to promote the coordination of research projects in the Member States. Initial pilot projects proved successful, and in 1982 the Council of Ministers adopted a more wide-ranging and coherent research coordination program in biomedicine and health. The general goal of the program was to contribute to a better quality of life by improving health, and to strengthen European collaboration to achieve this goal. br> br>
This book contains the final reports of 21 of the projects supported by the Commission of the European Communities within the framework of the Medical and Health Research Programme (1987-1991) – MHR4 – in the area of biomedical engineering. br> br>
The ultimate goal of biomedical engineering part of the program was to contribute to the improvement of the quality of healthcare, as well as to the containment of costs. Technological developments were rapid at the time, but however good the technology, its inappropriate use or incorrect application will always result in increased costs rather than healthcare improvements. The approach of the biomedical engineering part of the EC program was essentially multi-and inter-disciplinary, with the necessity for close collaboration between engineers and clinicians recognized from the outset. br> br>
The book documents a key stage in the evolution of the EC’s biomedical research programs, and will be of interest to all those working in the field.