Brussels, 10 April 2014
What mHealth can do for you
See also IP/14/394
@NeelieKroesEU, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: "mHealth is just one of the benefits of a #ConnectedContinent – helping patients, doctors and carers take control, wherever they are. From simple apps which help you stick to your exercise regime – to monitoring tools for those on kidney dialysis. I am delighted that the EU is so committed to this fascinating area. The EU has already invested over €100 million, with about €95 million up for grabs over the next two years. And we are now consulting on how best to unlock the huge potential of mobile healthcare."
1. Patients with kidney failure to get a new lease of life with Nephron Plus
Chronic kidney disease will affect one in ten of us at some point in our lives. For those of us unfortunate enough to suffer renal failure, the health consequences can be disastrous and the treatments very complex. The @nephronplus project received €5 million of EU funding to improve the lives of patients by developing a wearable artificial kidney device, whose indications can be remotely monitored by patients on their smartphone, and by medical staff.
"Continuous, 24/7 dialysis with a wearable device offers a smooth and uniform extraction of toxins over the day similar to the natural kidney. This improves the health condition tremendously and eliminates the 'after dialysis sickness syndrome' that many patients suffer from", explains Frank Simonis, technical manager of NEPHRON+. Constant remote monitoring of data is also a key feature of the system. Via a personal renal care app on their mobile device, patients will be able to consult and manage data, and include alarm settings. Their doctors will also be able to monitor the treatment, and remotely adapt it. According to Simonis "The NEPHRON+ system will make it possible for dialysis patients to lead a more full and active life."
From lab to market
The device is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials and will have to pass several rounds of stringent tests before it is ready to be used by all patients with kidney disease. However, the project has already reached the stage where commercial partners are ready to take the technology to the next stage. "With kidney failure rates on the rise and pressure on hospitals to find more cost effective and clinically effective treatments, the market for wearable dialysis devices could be worth as much as a €15 billion per year" says Leonidas Lymberopoulos, project coordinator. Dr Lymberopoulos also explains that the cost of caring for a patient with kidney disease will fall because the need for prescription medicines, nursing staff and installation costs will go down. Cost savings in medical care are expected to reach €15,000-20,000 per patient per year. With 340,000 patients in Europe this implies an annual saving of €5-7 billion.
Organisation coordinating the NEPHRON+ project: EXODUS SA, Greece. Contact: Leonidas Lymperopoulos, Ing, Phd - firstname.lastname@example.org, Research Department, EXODUS SA
2. Easier work, better care by REACTION
Information workflow in hospitals can be an issue. "When there is a change in shifts amongst doctors and nursing staff, a lot of information can get lost" explains Dr Thomas R. Pieber, Professor of Medicine at the University of Graz (video). GlucoTab, developed by the EU-funded REACTION project, is a mobile system allowing better medical information flow in hospitals. Via sensors, the system monitors parameters such as blood glucose levels, nutritional intake, administered drugs and insulin sensitivity and gives therapy advice; the data is stored on a server and is shared via tablets used by the medical staff.
REACTION also supports self-management and life-style changes for diabetic patients. Chorleywood Health Centre in the UK is using the platform to exchange information with patients who monitor glucose levels in their blood, their weight and other parameters at home. Doctors and nurses can then give advice on diet, activity and medication.
Organisation coordinating the project: ATOS SA, Spain. Contact: Lydia Montandon - email@example.com, Research and Innovation Atos, Spain
3. Guiding patients with chronic diseases with MobiGuide
Organisation coordinating the project: UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, Israel. Contact: Dr Val Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org, Senior Researcher/Associate Professor Telemedicine Group, Biomedical Signals and Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Organisation coordinating the project: ISTITUTO AUXOLOGICO ITALIANO, Italy. Contact: Andrea Gaggioli - email@example.com, Researcher, Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan, Italy
Funding available under Horizon 2020
Through Horizon 2020 #H2020, the new research and innovation programme, many more projects on mHealth will be funded. One of the focus areas of Horizon 2020 is "personalising health and care" (PHC). It notably supports citizen empowerment through self-management of health and disease, health promotion and disease prevention. mHealth is the perfect tool for that.
The PHC calls have a total budget of €549.3 million for 2014 and €537 million for 2015. PHC calls specifically mentioning mHealth are PHC-26-2014 (€59.6 million), PHC-27-2015 (€15 million) and PHC-28-2015 (€20 million). The 2015 figures are indicative.