Royal Philips and its ACT-programme consortium partners announced the debut of a ‘cookbook’ outlining key enablers necessary to scale connected care and telehealth programmes. The cookbook is the result from a two-and-a-half year scientific evaluation of data from different connected health programmes in five European regions. It provides new insights that apply across the EU on why certain telehealth programmes are more successful than others.
Connected care is seen by many governments as essential to enable more efficient, patient-centric and continuous care for the aging EU population; however, although many local connected care pilot programmes are successful, they fail to scale and their potential impact is not fully leveraged.
The consortium researched data from patients with COPD, diabetes and heart failure in programmes in the Basque Country (Spain), Catalonia (Spain), Scotland (UK), North of the Netherlands, and Lombardy (Italy) and conducted 2500 surveys and group interviews with participating patients and care providers.
The consortium found that the scalability of care coordination and telehealth is possible, but requires significant organisational change to successfully execute the process. It also unveiled critical areas in which progress is required in order to enable the transformation to more sustainable healthcare systems.
The Cookbook advises that patients are assigned a single point of contact when enrolled in care coordination programmes with several institutions and care providers to prevent them from feeling lost and diverging advices. Staff engagement is critical as in programmes where staff understanding and engagement levels were high patient adherence was better compared to programs with lower engagement scores. Preventative care programmes outperform reactive healthcare delivery. Improved standardisation and interoperability within the European Union would enable benchmarking and leveraging successful programmes beyond local pilots.
“A significant portion of our population is 65 years or older, and managing chronic conditions continues to put stress on our healthcare systems,” said Andrus Ansip, Vice President, Digital Single Market, European Commission. “Smarter use of innovation is crucial in order to enable active aging and healthy living. The ACT-program illustrates care coordination and telehealth can be very successful instruments to address care needs. The cookbook will inspire the necessary debate on system transformation and will help with the scaling of future connected health programmes.”
“Successful coordinated care and telehealth are principally about organisational change,” said Professor Stanton Newman of Health Psychology, School of Health Sciences, City University London, UK. “To achieve the best outcomes for patients, we need to review the way these organisations are structured and make sure everyone is aligned on the objectives and goals of integrating care coordination and telehealth into patient care pathways.”
“Connected care is critical to the future of our healthcare systems,” said Jeroen Tas, Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services, Philips. “The ACT research shows that successful connected care services may start with having the right technology, but it is truly about the holistic approach of technology, processes and people to make an effective transformation.”
The cookbook is available for download and more information can be found on the ACT Programme’s website: www.act-programme.eu
Uniting leading European healthcare experts from a number of domains, the ACT programme is part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA). The EIP-AHA is an initiative from the European Commission under its Innovation Union strategy, and aims to increase the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020.
Background information on the study results and regional programs can be found here.