Discussing Integrated Care at ICIC17

The International Conference on Integrated Care took place in a sunny Dublin between the 8th and 10th of May in association with the 5th World Congress on Integrated Care. With around 1200 attendees, 250 posters and more than 85 sessions, it gathered a wide range of experts on integrated care, healthcare services provision and researchers to share knowledge and ideas in a unique forum.

Conference speakers highlighted the need of changing the way care is delivered towards a more integrated approach between primary and specialty care, physical and mental care and health and social services. The current hospital centric view, the ageing population challenge and the prevalence of chronic diseases require a new way to provide care where healthcare services integration brings to better results through information sharing.

During the conference, several speakers focused on the concept of Quadruple Aim adding to the Triple Aim[1] (enhancing patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs) the goal of improving the working life of healthcare providers as an additional key aspect for health system performance.

Many topics were presented on plenary or parallel sessions. Some of them addressed integrated care services initiatives (like Alzheimer Café in Ireland[2]), mental and physical healthcare services integration through cooperation between GPs and mental health specialists and H2020 research projects (like SCIROCCO Maturity Model[3], ACT@Scale[4] and ICT4Life research project). Participants had the possibility of sharing their work and achievements and build up collaboration with other fellows with similar interests.

Alejandro Sánchez-Rico, ICT4Life project coordinator, highlights the following high quality plenary session presentations:

  • Rafael Bengoa (@rafabengoa), international health policy expert, who underlined the need of having policy makers on board to achieve integrated healthcare systems and offered a set of recommendations to do so. One of his remarks focused on low political risk actions that could be the first steps to advance towards integrated care if accompanied by real-time evaluation of new services and initiatives to facilitate a better implementation and adaptation to the context.
  • Richard Corbridge, Ireland’s Health CIO, who reminded how fast the world is changing thanks to digital breakthroughs within all sectors but the health sector, lagging behind in terms of possibilities. He presented the eHealth strategy[5] of Ireland and advances towards digital and integrated care.


ICT4Life at the ICIC17 Conference

Alejandro Sánchez-Rico presented ICT4Life project approach which is based on a platform supporting integrated care for Parkinson’s and Dementia patients, by providing a set of services to patients, caregivers and professionals.

Integrated care provision to Parkinson’s and Dementia patients requires the active participation of:

  • the patients themselves, as they are the only ones who know what it means experiencing the disease burden;
  • informal and formal caregivers which provide daily care to patients;
  • social professionals that support patients and families in their social needs;
  • health professionals from different specialties focusing on treatment diagnosis and/or rehabilitation.

In this context ICT4Life objective is to empower patients and caregivers with information, training, follow up, reminders, communication with other care participants and social services as well as to support professionals on content and training plans, patient evolution reports and decision making. This functionality is based on commercial sensors for data gathering in real patient scenarios, to infer information of symptom evolution and emergency situations detection to improve patient safety.

Currently, ICT4Life tools have interfaces and functionality running, although functionality integration is still pending. An iterative testing phase has started to continuously gather feedbacks from end-users, analysing and implementing them on the ICT4Life services to better adapt the platform to end-user needs.

Next steps for ICT4Life are the deployment of the 1st version of an integrated ICT4Life platform that will be validated with end-users during the second half of the year. Moreover, ICT4life partners will work to create communities of stakeholders to receive additional feedback from outside the consortium and to have a more complete view of platform key value functionalities and main improvement areas.

[1] The IHI Triple Aim framework was developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Massachusetts (www.ihi.org). ICT4Life talked about it in a previous blog post here.

[2] Alzheimer Café Ireland – https://www.alzheimer.ie/Services-Support/Resources/Alzheimer-Cafe-s.aspx

[3] Scirocco – http://www.scirocco-project.eu/

[4] ACT@Scale – https://www.act-at-scale.eu/

[5] eHealth Ireland – http://www.ehealthireland.ie/

Alejandro Sánchez-Rico de las Heras,

Director of eHealth at Artica Telemedicina and
ICT4Life Project Coordinator

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