"Nurses and social workers are uniquely placed to use eHealth tools and innovate their practice to face today’s challenges", says project coordinator Paul De Raeve. "With the right knowledge, skills and opportunities, they can for example help prevent diseases by acting as a health coach, they can perform telemonitoring, give telehealth advice and prescribe medication via ePrescription."
To get there, the ENS4Care network brought together 24 partners from all over Europe, with a mix of professional associations in nursing and social care, nursing regulators and unions, informal carers, patients, researchers and research communities, civil society representatives and industry. They collected a total of 122 existing good practices of using eHealth tools by nurses and social workers at both national and regional levels.
The five guidelines that came out of this aim to inform not only the health and care sector, but also policy-makers says De Raeve: "We aim to help them them in the decisional process about health and care systems, eHealth policies and delivery of care across the EU. Countries such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria have already started looking at how to implement the ENS4Care recommendations."
De Raeve: "We can say that the ENS4Care network has achieved its main objective: providing guidance on the use of eHealth services for wider implementation. We also demonstrated the benefits of combining evidence-based practice and expertise from a diverse range of stakeholders, leading to valuable lessons for real-world implementation that can be taken forward within Horizon 2020."
Launched in December 2013, funded by the EU and coordinated by the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN), the 2-year project has built a thematic network to share good nursing and social work practices that include eHealth services.