Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Philips leads consortium for large-scale telehealth programme in Europe

Steve Rogerson
May 19, 2016
Philips and a consortium of European healthcare regions, companies, universities and hospitals have started a 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 Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Denmark by 2019.
“Today, 70 per cent 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 for connected care and health informatics at Philips. “Philips is committed to helping care providers and governments implement innovative, connected care delivery models that help improve patient self-management and care collaboration. 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 programme, they will share an agreed and standardised data set including outcomes such as the number of patients included, (re)hospitalisations, duration of hospitalisations and mortality rates. They will also assess economic impact factors such as cost per patient and the impact on hospitals income models.
These data are to support the development of new and sustainable business models. Next to this, patient satisfaction scores will be measured and the degree to which connected technology empowers people and affects health outcomes.
The regions involved comprise: Catalonia in Spain, which has developed programmes to support nursing homes, reduce hospital re-admissions, manage complex cases and promote physical activity; southern Denmark, which is rolling out a telehealth programme to deliver psychiatric treatment; Northern Ireland, which has remote telemonitoring programmes to support COPD and diabetes patients, and manage maternal obesity; northern 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 in 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 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 maximising the benefits for Europe’s ageing population.”
The Act@Scale scientific consortium members comprise UMCG (Netherlands), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), City University London (UK), Universitätsklinikum Würzburg/Klinikum der Bayerischen Julius-Maximilians-Universität (Germany), University of Hull (UK), Kronikgune-Centre for Research Excellence in Chronicity (Basque Country), Hospital Clinic of Barcelona (Spain) and Philips. It is anticipated that the first preliminary findings will be available from the end of this year.
Act@Scale builds on the Act programme, a two-and-a-half year study (2013 to 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 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.