Philips leads eHealth initiative to deliver care for chronic disease patients across Europe

Royal Philips and a consortium of leading European healthcare regions, companies, universities and hospitals* have announced the start of the first large scale care coordination and telehealth programme in the European Union to support tens of thousands of people living with chronic conditions. The three-year ACT@Scale programme will collect and analyse the health outcome and economic impact data for large populations of chronic patients and elderly people to develop, test and consolidate best practice’ care coordination and telehealth programmes that can be replicable and successfully rolled out across the European Union. The programme aims to reach more than 75,000 patients in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark by 2019.
‘Today, 70 percent of Europe’s healthcare budget is spent on patients living with chronic conditions, largely a result of Europe’s aging population and rapidly changing care needs,’ said Jeroen Tas, CEO Connected Care and Health Informatics, Philips. ‘The ACT@Scale programme will provide the evidence needed to successfully deliver a seamless patient experience with better outcomes at lower cost.’
The five participating healthcare regions are all in the process of rolling out innovative care coordination and telehealth services. Within the ACT@Scale programme, they will share an agreed and standardized data set including programme outcomes such as the number of patients included, (re)hospitalizations, duration of hospitalizations and mortality rates. They will also assess economic impact factors such as cost per patient and the impact on hospitals income models. This data is to support the development of new and sustainable business models. Next to this, patient satisfaction scores are measured and the degree to which connected technology empowers people and affects health outcomes.
The regions involved comprise Catalonia (Spain), which has developed programmes to support nursing homes, reduce hospital re-admissions, manage complex cases and promote physical activity; Southern Denmark (Denmark), which is rolling out a telehealth programme to deliver psychiatric treatment; Northern Ireland (UK), which has remote telemonitoring programmes to support COPD and diabetes patients, and manage maternal obesity; Northern Netherlands (The Netherlands), with programmes to provide specialist support for COPD, asthma and heart failure patients, and connect healthcare and community services for chronic disease patients; and the Basque Country (Spain), which is rolling out programmes to support older people with complex health and social care needs, plus telehealth services for chronic heart failure patients.
‘Telehealth and coordinated care services may offer the elderly and otherwise frail individuals the ability to maintain their independence for longer and enjoy a significantly better quality of life, but they also involve significant changes to the healthcare system and the recipients’ ability to self-manage,’ said Professor Erik Buskens, Professor of Medical Technology Assessment at University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). ‘ACT@Scale will allow us to determine the most cost-effective ways of implementing those changes while also maximizing the benefits for Europe’s ageing population.’
The ACT@Scale scientific consortium members comprise of University Medical Center Groningen (The Netherlands), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), City University London (UK), Universitatsklinikum Wurzburg/Klinikum der Bayerischen Julius-Maximilians-Universitat (Germany), University of Hull (UK), Kronikgune-Centre for Research Excellence in Chronicity (Basque Country, Spain), Hospital Clinic of Barcelona (Spain) and Philips. It is anticipated that the first preliminary findings will be available from the end of Q4, 2016.
ACT@Scale builds on the successful ACT programme, a two-and-a-half year study (2013 – 2016) that looked into the results of European integrated care programmes. Thousands of interviews were conducted with participating patients and care providers. These learnings on success factors are applied to significantly grow the ACT@Scale healthcare regions’ coordination and telehealth programmes. The programme is part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), an initiative from the European Commission under its Innovation Union strategy, and aims to increase the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020.