Advanced Care Co-ordination and Telehealth Deployment (ACT) programme addresses EU’s aging population and burden of managing chronic conditions
A European consortium has released a ‘cookbook’ outlining the key enablers necessary to scale connected care and telehealth programmes.
The Advanced Care Co-ordination and Telehealth Deployment (ACT)programme calls for ‘significant organisational change’, integration of telehealth into patient pathways, and a single point of contact for users to avoid confusion.
The 'Cookbook' is the result of a two-and-a-half year scientific evaluation of data from different connected health programmes in six European regions and it provides new insights that apply across the EU on why certain telehealth schemes are more successful than others.
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 co-ordination and telehealth into patient care pathways
Members of the consortium include Royal Philips, the University of Hull, City University London, NHS 24 Scotland, and a number of leading hospitals, healthcare operators, and manufacturers from Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.
They researched data from patients with COPD, diabetes, and heart failure and conducted 2,500 surveys and group interviews with participating patients and care providers.
While connected care is seen by many governments as essential to enable more-efficient, patient-centric and continuous care for the aging EU population; many connected care pilot programmes fail to scale and their potential impact is not fully realised.
The consortium found that the scalability of care co-ordination and telehealth is possible, but requires significant organisational change to successfully execute the process. It also highlighted 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 co-ordination programmes involving several institutions and care providers to prevent them from feeling lost and receiving conflicting advice.
Staff engagement is also critical as in programmes where staff understanding and engagement levels were high, patient adherence was better. Preventative care programmes were also found to outperform reactive healthcare delivery.
“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 of the digital single market at the European Commission.
“Smarter use of digital innovation is crucial in order to enable active ageing and healthy living. The Advancing Care Co-ordination and Telehealth Deployment programme illustrates that care co-ordination and telehealth can address care needs and support long-term sustainability of health and social care delivery.”
“Successful co-ordinated care and telehealth are principally about organisational change,” added Professor Stanton Newman of the School of Health Sciences at City University London.
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
“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 co-ordination and telehealth into patient care pathways.”
And Jeroen Tas, chief executive officer of healthcare informatics solutions and services at Philips, said: “Connected care is critical to the future of our healthcare systems. 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.”