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European Commission


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."

Four EU-funded projects making the most of mHealth (@EU_eHealth #mHealth)

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.

A more full and active life

"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 -, 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.

Nurses and doctors at the Medical University Graz, Austria, fully adopted the system. "We are breaking new ground because, for the first time, the workflow for medical treatment is supported by a technical solution", says Dr Thomas R. Pieber. The system has reduced the workload, increased the autonomy of nurses and improved the quality of care. GlucoTab has recently obtained CE marking, making its use possible in all hospitals. It has also recently been awarded an Austrian prize for the best commercial application in Human-Technology-Interface.

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 -, Research and Innovation Atos, Spain

3. Guiding patients with chronic diseases with MobiGuide

The EU-funded MOBIGUIDE project @MobiGuideProj has developed an intelligent mobile system to guide patients with chronic diseases. Research focused on cardiac patients (patients with atrial fibrillation) and women with complications during pregnancy (high blood pressure and diabetes). However the system developed will be relevant to a whole range of chronic and acute medical conditions. The patient wears sensors that can monitor their biosignals (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure); these signals are transmitted to their smartphone and from there to a powerful back-end computer. The data generated is analysed by the MOBIGUIDE decision-support tool, on the basis of patients' historical clinical data. The tool alerts the patient about actions that should be taken and asks them questions, in case additional information is needed. Then the system makes recommendations regarding lifestyle changes or contacts care providers. All recommendations regarding therapy, based on evidence-based and state-of-the-art clinical guidelines, are transmitted to the patients' care providers. The system is currently being tested.

Organisation coordinating the project: UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, Israel. Contact: Dr Val Jones -, Senior Researcher/Associate Professor Telemedicine Group, Biomedical Signals and Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Twente, The Netherlands

4. An app to cope with stress by Interstress

Escape to a tropical island in 3D virtual reality where you can learn and practice effective relaxation techniques. This is possible with the Positive Technology App, developed by the EU-funded INTERSTRESS project. The aim is to reduce your stress and improve your health by self-managing and treating your stress through your smartphone or tablet. You can use compatible biosensors available in the market (e.g. a special bracelet), which enable you to control the features of the virtual environment through your heart and respiration rates; for instance, based on your heartbeat, the sensors may increase or the decrease the size of a virtual campfire or of a virtual waterfall. This app can also send you alerts when you are too stressed and gives feedback. Too much stress can lead to other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and also physical illness such as cardiovascular diseases. The app is already available for free on the iTunes store, where it is highly rated (4+). The Positive Technology App won the World Summit Award-Mobile prize for best mHealth app.

Organisation coordinating the project: ISTITUTO AUXOLOGICO ITALIANO, Italy. Contact: Andrea Gaggioli -, 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.

Contact for press: Email: Tel: +32.229.57361, Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

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