Telehealth supporters have announced a link-up between English and French technology experts in an effort to drive the growth of eHealth in Europe.
The MALCOLM project - Mapping Assisted Living Capability Over La Manche - brings together the South East Health Technologies Alliance (SEHTA), a health technologies cluster with expertise in care and assisted Living; and Pôle TES from Basse-Normandie in France, a cluster with expertise in the field of secure electronic transactions.
The project will research and map the needs and capabilities of the eHealth sector in Normandy and the South East of England in order to help organisations and companies involved in delivering care services to develop and implement innovative ICT-based home support systems. The subsequent needs analysis will focus on two target groups: people aged 60 to 75 years (65-75 in England); and those aged over 75 years. These target groups were chosen because the care issues are the same on both sides of the Channel: namely an ageing population with a longer life expectanc, and the isolation of some of the coastal populations.
The research conducted by the MALCOLM project will be of particular relevance to SMEs and other organisations involved in the assisted living supply chain; health and care providers such as hospitals, old people's homes, specialised clinics, etc; and third sector and charities working with older people.
The assisted living capability in both regions will be summarised in a report that will provide a sound analytical basis to support regional implementation plans, identify good practices, allow a direct comparison between the two regions, stimulate the cross-border development of new products and services, and stimulate the development of new clusters.
The results of the project will be disseminated at two events, the first on 16 October in Maidstone, Kent; and the second on 20 November in Colombelles in Normandy. Both events will provide an opportunity to discuss the results of the comparative study and for networking between stakeholders involved in eHealth from both countries.
The initiative comes at an important time for both regions. In South East England care providers are working to provide more patient-centred, integrated health and social care and, following on from the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD), to implement more technologically-enabled care services. Basse-Normandie has recently been identified as a 'Silver Region' forging a link between eHealth and the Silver Economy. By becoming involved in the MALCOLM project companies and organizations working in the area of home support for the elderly will have the opportunity to share expertise, identify new opportunities and be involved in the development of a powerful new cluster.
The project was awarded an EU grant of €149,980.50 under the cross-border INTERREG IV A Channel Programme and started in January. It runs until March 2015.