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Brussels, 12 May 2014
eHealth Forum: health management in the 21st century
This is eHealth Forum week, a time to discuss how technology can bring positive changes into healthcare systems and turn today's health and ageing challenges into economic growth. This year's Forum takes place in Greece, where the successful use of eHealth tools, developed as a result of EU research and innovation funding or support- can inspire other EU countries.
During the forum, the eHealth Network - the leading body for EU cooperation on the interoperability of eHealth, will meet to discuss guidelines for the interoperability of ePrescriptions, due to be adopted in November.
The Greek ePrescription system was first introduced in 2010, and is today used by 98% of pharmacies and 90% of doctors in Greece. It already covers more than 6 million electronic prescriptions and 1.5 million diagnostic referrals. The system supports decision-making by health authorities on issues such as how to improve patient services and public health planning.
The ePrescription system has been a good basis for further modernisation of the Greek health system, which includes an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) containing a patient summary (a summary of all medication a patient is taking, along with other medical and personal data). This is especially helpful for preventing over-prescription and conflicting medication, and it can be life-saving for travelers. The patient summary was developed according to the European patient summary dataset, recently adopted by the eHealth Network with guidelines for this data to be shared across borders.
The Greek ePrescription system was built on the basis of EU-funded epSOS project (more on this video). Greece also teamed up with Sweden to share best practices on ePrescription. All in all an interesting example for other countries to follow, and a fertile ground for them to export their own good practices, thanks to ICT interoperabilities.
Last year, Greece established a network for the Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. This partnership of professionals in health and care aims to address the challenges of an ageing society with innovative services and practices, along the formula of the European Innovation partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (@EIP_AHA). This commitment to a European project at national level sets another good practice to follow by other Member States.
mHealth – wearable tech
"Wearable tech" is a growing field for health application. Under the USEFIL project which will be demonstrated at the eHealth Forum today, the combination of a smart watch and an even smarter mirror can show you & your carers how you feel and what you do. The product was developed through an EU-funded research project coordinated by Demokritos, the Greek National Centre for Scientific Research. Cameras behind the mirror register a patient's facial expression and body language. Meanwhile, a smart watch around the wrist records daily activities, blood pressure and heart rate. All this information is combined into infographics and shown on the mirror's surface, along with a calendar and clock. The information is also shared with carers who can use this feedback to prescribe appropriate medication, to decide an appointment is needed soon, to send reminders of appointments through the mirror, ensuring patients will not forget them. The smart mirror and watch are unobtrusive: people don't need to change their home or way of living, to use them. The system helps elderly people stay independent for longer. Although the project will be completed only at the end of this year, it is already expanding and forging partnerships with American companies.
Staying mentally fit
SOCIABLE offers ICT-assisted cognitive training and social activation to senior citizens, older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment and patients suffering from mild Alzheimer’s disease, helping them stay mentally fit. At the heart of the project is a single platform (a tablet, an 'all-in-one' PC or a 'digital table', a table with a touch-screen) and over 25 applications. These include cognitive training exercises (covering logical reasoning, language and constructional practice and spatial orientation). They also include the “Book of Life”, a personal diary application, where people can store life experiences, memories and thoughts, in the form of texts, pictures and video, which can also be shared with others, thus remaining active socially. SOCIABLE is being used in seven organisations in Greece, Italy, Norway and Spain. The project coordinator SingularLogic S.A. is planning further commercial roll out of Sociable and is negotiating with a big medical centre in Germany to include Sociable solutions in its services. In parallel, SOCIABLE functionalities and services are being enhanced and adapted for new clients and in other EU-funded projects (e.g. IDF, Cloud4All, Prosperity4All). One of the improvements is a training module for fall prevention. SOCIABLE will be demonstrated live at SingularLogic's booth at the eHealth Forum.
The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (@EIP_AHA) is a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement innovative ICT-driven technologies for active and healthy ageing at European scale and to remove barriers that prevent their deployment.
epSOS is short for European patient Smart Open Services. This large scale project provides:
To make use of these services, please consult your doctor.
The Active Assisted Living Joint Programme (@AAL_JP) is an initiative driven by the EU's member states for applied research on ICT products and services for ageing well. Over a hundred projects have been funded since 2008 and it should be continued under H2020: €25 million of EU funding is foreseen in 2014 and the same amount again in 2015.
Read more about EU support to ageing well with ICT.
Watch the video Digital, Healthy, Happy: eHEALTH.