Innovative e-Health solutions providing better care at lower cost

Electronic health record and telemedice services have already become essential parts of health care. In the treatment of chronic diseases, eHealth solutions can also be utilised to provide better and more patient centred health care at a lower cost. To achieve this, the user’s needs and competences need to be in focus in the development of eHealth services.

The current situation and the potential of eHealth solutions was in focus at the first eHealth Innovation Days (eHID), which took place 8.-9. September 2016 in Flensburg. In his opening speech Professor Roland Trill, director of the Baltic Sea Campus on eHealth and of the Institute for eHealth and Management in HealthCare (IEMG, Flensburg University of Applied Sciences), pointed out the aims of the conference.

„The eHealth Innovation Days bring together research, industry and users. With this approach the leading role of the Baltic Sea Region in eHealth issues will be maintained and strengthened. From the German point of view more positive progress is expected to reduce the gap in developing and implementing eHealth services and to finally keep pace with the leading countries.“

In this spirit, Prof. Gunnar Hartvigsen (The Arctic University of Norway, Norwegian Centre for eHealth Research at University Hospital of North Norway) and Prof. Peeter Ross (eMed Lab, Tallinn University of Technology) strikingly elaborated on the importance of eHealth for future health care systems. The electronic health record and telemedice services are already essential parts of health care. Dr. Ronald Petru (Radboud University Medical Center) pointed out that especially hospitals play an important role in this context.

Gunnar Hartvigsen argued that especially in the treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, self-management of patients can be very effectively supported by eHealth applications. He demonstrated a Norwegian approach in diabetes care to involve the patient as well as family members and colleagues in the disease management by using different smartphone applications, speaking cuddly animals and toys which transmit data to an integrated online platform. Both the health professionals as well as the patient and family members, friends or colleagues get information about e.g. level of blood glucose and can react on it. This innovative approach engages the social network around the patient and thus makes it very interactive and successful.

Another focus was on innovations from SMEs. Above all the presentation from TELEMEDICA impressively showed the mobile health care services of general practitioners in Latvia. The presented suitcase for GPs includes medical equipment for various purposes. This best-practice example for mobile health care in rural areas demonstrates Latvian innovative potential, even though practical implementation on a broader level is still continuing.

Anna-Lena Pohl, research associate at IEMG, convinced the audience with her presentation in the session User Involvement and Usability. In her speech
„Patient centred health care in a digitilized world – users’ competences matter!“ she demanded to put the needs and competences of the users in the focus of research, development and implementation of eHealth services.

This last aspect will also be a topic for the next eHealth Innovation Days which will take place 7.-8. September 2017 in Flensburg. The homepage will constantly be updated and the ongoing preparations can be followed here

Anna-Lena Pohl

Institute for eHealth and Management in Health Care