With the help of ICT, care can be offered in an integrated way; no longer in an institution, but in the own home environment.

Smartcare project: Pathways for integrated eCare

The SmartCare project aims to define a common set of standard functional specifications for an open ICT platform enabling the delivery of integrated care to older European citizens. A total of 23 regions and their key stakeholders are defining a comprehensive set of integration building blocks around the challenges of data-sharing, coordination and communication. The project published a White Paper in July 2015 on Pathways for integrated eCare.

CommonWell: integrated telecare and telehealth services

The aim of the CommonWell project (funded under the the EU's ICT Policy Support Programme) 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 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. The British Journal of Healthcare Computing has published the results for the Milton Keynes site: 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.

Beyond research: Action Groups on Integrated Care

One of the six actions groups of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) works on Integrated Care. It is committed to create a critical mass to reduce unnecessary hospitalisation of older people with chronic conditions by implementing integrated care programmes and chronic disease management models. The Action will deliver easy-to-use tools (toolkits) and European guidelines that can be used by EU member states in their national plans for the management of chronic conditions.