(08/02/2013) In response to the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population, a cluster of pilot projects were launched by the European Commission within the Action Plan for Ageing Well in the Information Society (adopted in 2007). This cluster of pilots came to a successful conclusion at the end of 2012.
The aim of these pilots was to implement various ICT solutions at pilot sites across Europe to demonstrate and provide evidence of the socio-economic return of investment. More than 50 regions and 20.000 users were involved.
CommonWell began as a project of 10 partners in 2008. The aim of the project was to address the lack of integration between healthcare and social care services, which can particularly affect older people, by implementing ICT-based solutions. CommonWell services for integrated eCare were developed and piloted at four sites in Europe: United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and Spain. The four services implemented were: better emergency care through telecare integration in Andalucia, Spain; managed hospital admission for care clients in Bielefeld, Germany; early intervention and telehealth for COPD patients in Milton Keynes, England; and integrated support for heart failure patients in Veldhoven, Netherlands.
The pilot phase of the project ended in early 2012, with the ICT services demonstrating how flexible integration can result in tangible improvements for service users, care professionals and service providers. A common theme in the feedback from patients in each of the different pilots was a greater sense of reassurance and increased confidence in managing their condition. Staff across pilot sites reported that the CommonWell services had a largely positive effect on their job satisfaction, as well as improving speed and efficiency of services.
The British Journal of Healthcare Computing has published the results for the site Milton Keynes: improved quality of life for COPD patients, reduced hospital admissions, reduced visits to GPs and a long-term socioeconomic return of 28%.
CommonWell integrated services are now in real-life operation at the pilot sites. For an example read for Tunstall's press release on the telecare services now extended throughout Andalucía.
Videos of the pilot sites: http://commonwell.eu/about-commonwell/videos/
The DREAMING project involves a package of ICT-based services to extend the independent life of elderly people, while at the same time providing them with the safe environment they could expect from a care home. The DREAMING services piloted in Denmark (article in Danish press), Estonia, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden included solutions for monitoring and alarm handling, which were provided through a combination of medical devices and environmental sensors, along with a powerful Decision Support System. Also part of the pilot was offering elderly-friendly videoconferencing services.
Benefits to users included offering them a way of staying in touch with their loved ones, and easier management of chronic conditions in their own homes, therefore reducing the need to make expensive and frequent trips to the doctor or hospital. The pilots were aimed at assessing the impact of ICT-based solutions on economic and clinical indicators, its financial sustainability and user satisfaction. In a randomised controlled trial, substantial economic benefits for health and social care systems were demonstrated for 5 out of 6 pilot projects. For an average of 18,5 patients, total costs for health and social care were € 676.932 as opposed to € 1.024.934 for the control group, which suggests efficiency gains of some 35%.
Video of the Danish pilot: http://www.dreaming-project.org/DPMWvideos_RegionSyddanmark.html
The overall objective of the LongLastingMemories(LLM) pilot was to provide a unified solution for cognitive and physical health for senior citizens. This project implemented an integrated ICT platform, combining cognitive exercises with physical activity in the framework of an advanced ambient assisted living environment. This acted as a countermeasure to age-related cognitive decline, and sought to improve the quality of life of older people and increase the time they can remain independent in their homes.
In terms of technological developments, a server based infrastructure was created, allowing for easy integration of new kinds of application modules. Technical large scale testing of the LLM system was also conducted twice in a laboratory environment. Regarding user experience, 95% believed that exercising through LLM was beneficial for them and they were in greater control of their health as a result. Following the positive results of the project, both from the pilot validation and scientific and usability evaluation, it has been confirmed that LLM deployment is feasible.
Video presentation of the results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilABZtm8eGM
SOCIABLE was launched as a pilot project targeting older people diagnosed with milk dementia and other cognitive problems. This integrated ICT service is designed to help improve cognitive ability, as well as boost the users’ social interactions. Patients, in the form of a motivating play environment undertake cognitive training exercise and social interaction activities.
An interface that can be used either at home or in a care environment, SOCIABLE applications include ‘Book of Life’, which users commented helped maintain memory. Now actively used in 7 organisations across the 4 participating countries (Greece, Italy, Norway and Spain), another major benefit of the software is the ability for medical experts to store and retrieve patient information electronically.
Video of the project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=zSUIHXWdtyc
The Clinical Leading Environment for the Assessment of Rehabilitation protocols in home care (CLEAR) project has been funded under the ICT Policy Support Program. The Project addressed the implementation of a Telerehabilitation service in four Member States (Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Poland). Pilots were conducted on home protocols and therapies developed for four types of pathologies usually affecting the elderly: neurological, orthopaedic, pneumonic disorders and chronic pain.
For instance, physiotherapy patients will be encouraged to work more and more independently, integrating hospital rehabilitation with home practice.
The ambition is to convert the project, now completed, to a European platform for Telerehabilitation, and to contribute to the harmonization of e-health services in the EU. CLEAR is a fundamental step in helping doctors treating patients who seek health treatment in a comfortable environment, including home, under supervision of a specialized team.
NEXES studies were conducted in three different sites: Barcelona (Spain), Athens (Greece) and Trondheim (Norway), from May 2008 to June 2012. The aim of NEXES was to develop integrated care solutions to support healthy and independent living for the elderly and chronic patients. A strong focus was given to prevention and disease modulation. NEXES also identified the need to address the gap between healthcare and community services.
It was concluded at the Final Workshop of the project in April 2012 that the validation and implementation of such integrated care systems should be made a priority, with ICT playing a pivotal role in enabling change and progress in this area.
With regards to extension at EU level, it was concluded that NEXES showed a high level of transferability, with active participation into initiatives framed by the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing being the most effective strategy to foster the changes needed by the European healthcare systems.
This Intelligent System for Independent Living and SElf‐care of seniors with cognitive problems or Mild Dementia (ISISEMD) pilot project provided a set of technological solutions to promote independent living among older people with cognitive problems or mild dementia. Another of the project’s objectives was to support both formal and informal care givers with the aid of user friendly, scalable and innovative solutions. The pilot, a collaboration between twelve different partners, was tested in realistic conditions over a twelve month period in four Member States.
The pilot set of services integrated tested prototypes with completed R&D work. Services included a pocket device with satellite connection for older people with mild dementia, as well as touch screen computers. With an ageing European population and increasing numbers of adults diagnosed with dementia, the ISISEMD project coordinators envisage advantages for society as a whole, as well as benefiting users and their carers. These advantages include reduced health and social care costs and new business opportunities.