Digital technologies such as 4G/5G mobile communication, artificial intelligence or supercomputing offer new opportunities to transform healthcare systems. They enable new approaches to personalised medicine, independent living or integrated health and social care, accelerating scientific progress, early diagnosis of diseases and more effective treatments.
Technological innovations and their large-scale implementation bring along changes in service delivery and redefine healthcare.
Scientific advances translate into better results for people
Personalised medicine enabled by data analysis will benefit every citizen. Disease management supported by health data analytics will lead to drug therapies that are more effective, with less adverse effects and that can ensure improved quality of life. Physicians also increasingly embrace therapies supported by data analytics, which will minimize trial-and-error diagnosis and treatment, with benefits for providers and recipients of health and care services.
Supercomputing (also called High Performance Computing) already provides early detection of tumours in a simple, quick and precise way. In some cases, early detection is now possible in a few hours, whereas just 10 years ago it would have taken days or weeks, and in other cases would have been virtually impossible. Data analytics enabled by supercomputing allow for early diagnosis of genetic disorders leading to more effective (and timely) treatment and saving lives.
Innovation enables “people-powered” health and care provision
Health is more than medicine: it is about people helping themselves and helping other people. It is about dispersed health and care networks that work together in the interests of the citizen and it is about using people to re-design their own health and care services. Evidence shows that digital technology increasingly helps health and care professionals tapping into the wealth of information and skills in communities and to capitalise on this experiential knowledge for managing health conditions or maintaining healthy lifestyles.
Digitisation of health and care services can also improve patient-experience, and empower each of us to look after our own health. ICPNN, a digitally-enabled integrated care programme in the Netherlands, provides integrated health and community care support for adults over 75 living at home. It allows citizens to age in their own community for as long as possible and with as much involvement in the management of their own care process. In a period of two years, this programme led to a decrease of between 37% and 47% in consultations related to ageing-related problems (chronic conditions), and an equivalent increase in the perceived sense of wellbeing by the elderly population.
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