ICT4Life is a three-year project financed by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, that kicked-off in Madrid on the 19th of January 2016 with the ambition to provide new services for integrated care employing user-friendly ICT tools, ultimately increasing patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers’ quality of life and autonomy at home.
This initiative brings together nine partners representing Academia, industry and end-users’ groups, all committed in improving patients’ lives and advancing Europe’s leadership role in personalised services for integrated care.
The partners of this well-balanced and multidisciplinary consortium are:
- Artica Telemedicina (Spain), which leads the project;
- Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain);
- Madrid Parkinson’s Association (Spain);
- Netis Informatics Ltd. (Hungary);
- E-Seniors (France);
- Centre for Research and Technology Hellas – CERTH (Greece);
- Maastricht University (The Netherlands);
- European Hospital and Healthcare Federation – HOPE (Belgium);
- University of Pécs (Hungary).
The motivation behind ICT4Life comes from the need to find solutions aimed at developing the concepts of self-care, active patients and integrated care. To reach this goal, ICT4Life is developing through technological and social research a radically new approach to integrated care that is being materialised in the ICT4Life Platform.
ICT4Life Platform is designed to:
- integrate patients through a tailor made app, delivering services, aimed at increasing the quality of life and the autonomy of elders at their own homes, nursing homes, day care centres and hospitals;support through web access authorized professionals involved in the care of the patients, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, psychologists, neurologists;
- allow authorised caregivers to have access to patients’ personal or health information selected by the patients themselves. The interfaces are adaptable to the needs of the different ICT4Life end-users;
- protect end-users’ privacy using robust and secure communication channels;
- be tested in real operating environments, through extensive pilots taking place in 2018.
With an ageing population in Europe, cognitive impairments have become a major social and health issue. According to the World Alzheimer Report (WHO) 2014, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, remains one of the biggest global public health challenges our generation is facing. The number of people living with dementia worldwide in 2015 was estimated in 46.8 million. It is expected to reach 131.5 million in 2050. These figures underline a situation which presents a certain level of criticality that needs to be managed. Moreover, such situation could be further deteriorated in individuals suffering of both cognitive impairments and Parkinson’s.
People with dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease claim for their independence, despite they might face major difficulties in their daily lives, especially to take care of themselves. Caregivers also need to be supported in their daily care routines. As the impairment increases, families need to dedicate much more time, mental and physical effort to their relatives.
This situation poses a challenge for public authorities, policy makers and businesses, especially as it comes at a time of increasing pressure on public budgets and growing demands from older people for care products and services. If this demographic transition is not tackled head-on, it will raise considerable concerns for the financial sustainability of health and care systems.
ICT4Life aims at increasing the quality of life and the autonomy of individuals with early or intermediate stage cognitive impairment at their own homes, nursing homes, day care centres and hospitals by providing proactive and patient centred care from caregivers and health professionals thanks to the help of user-friendly IT solutions.
ICT4Life Platform is being developed to deliver a series of innovative services which will connect patients, caregivers and health professionals supporting them.
ICT4Life radical innovations for integrated care is being implemented by means of an efficient and cost-effective ICT-based Health Service Platform which exploits the latest technological advances.
ICT4Life Governing Bodies are:
- The General Assembly
The General Assembly (GA) is the project’s decision making group for all questions related to the project’s strategy, organisation and operations towards goal achievement. The GA is composed of one representative from each of the Consortium partners, and is chaired by the Coordinator.
- The Management Support Team
The Management Support Team supports the Coordination. It provides legal, contractual, financial, ICT and administrative support.
- The Advisory Board
The Advisory Board (AB) is composed of national and European stakeholders’ organisations, representing the targeted groups interested in the project’s results. The main objective of the AB is: to provide periodical advice and guidance to the Consortium.
- The Technical Management Committee
The Technical Management Committee (TMC) is responsible for the execution of the activities in accordance with the work plan description and within the foreseen time and budget. The TCM coordinates the efforts of the work teams involved in each WP towards the effective realization of their tasks and the timely submission of their deliverables.
- The Impact Creation Board
The Impact Creation Board (ICB) provides strategic oversight for the project considering business and technical strategy. It includes all WP leaders. The ICB operates at a higher level with the General Assembly and acts as the body entitled of the overall governance of the project ensuring delivery of ICT4Life innovations to the market.
- Ethics and Privacy Committee
Ethics and Privacy Committee (EPC) comprises representatives of all partners. It suggests ICT4Life project policy on ethical and privacy considerations that has to be approved by the General Assembly (GA). The EPC also ensures that the partners follow the best practices suggested regarding data acquisition, processing, storage and transmission.
The ICT4Life Advisory Board is composed of organisations with a wide experience on the sector of health and ageing.
The Advisory Board main intended goals are to offer guidance and advice on issues relevant to the project, according to the different stages of implementation of ICT4Life. Advisors are also key to help ICT4Life better adjust to market needs and desires. There is no budget available for compensating the time invested by the advisors, only travel and subsistence costs are covered. However, due to their participation as external experts in ICT4Life, access to internal documents is granted and also to official publications, ahead of the time for the general targeted population. ICT4Life also provides its advisors with updated information on important events and news, networking and “think tank” opportunities during ICT4Life Advisory Board yearly meetings.
The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) has accepted to act as observer member within the advisory board representing the views of the health professionals.
Mr. Ben Oomen. ESNO partner.
Mr. Jose Bruno Teixeira & Mrs. Ana Ribas Teixeira. Clinical and health psychologists at the Portuguese association representing carers.
Mr. Josep Sirera. Executive Director.