[b]PHS transform the patient from a passive health information provider to an active information user[/b]
For almost a decade the European Commission activities in eHealth have supported a vision of person-centric healthcare systems – a vision that breaks away from the current way of delivering healthcare.
This vision is best expressed by the so-called Personal Health Systems (PHS). PHS represent a new generation of eHealth systems in the form of, for example, wearable and portable systems and tools in the hands of patients (or citizens). PHS are realised by integration of ICT such as: biomedical sensors; micro- and nano- systems; mobile, wireless and broadband communications; user interfaces; digital signal processing and intelligent algorithms.
This conference aimed to consolidate the results of this period of research, development and service validation in the area of PHS in Europe and to further demonstrate the impact of PHS on the prevention and management of diseases, citizen empowerment and independent living of people in need. In addition the conference aimed to stimulate the debate on issues relating to market development and policy support to Member States and regions in deploying PHS systems.
Although the vision for PHS to take healthcare out of the hospital, bring it to the home and embed it into people’s lives is clear, little deployment has happened so far. The barriers to deployment originate at different levels and are associated with a multitude of technological, cultural, legal, political and market-related factors. Equally poly-parametric is the way of addressing them and will require active participation of all stakeholder groups.
In summary, although significant scientific challenges still remain, technology is not any more the limiting factor. Several directions must be explored and education has to play a bigger role to improve performance and disseminate the potential of the new technologies. The deployment has to be done within the Member States, but this procedure needs time.
It is important that national policy should have ICT at its core. There are still many things to do, although many technologies have been demonstrated to be already available. We need to continue, and take initiatives being pushed spontaneously (without any funding from the EU) to pave the way towards a successful innovation.