Stakeholders across Europe are innovating solutions to improve care for patients suffering from common and severe chronic diseases, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In the Netherlands, over 40,000 new patients are diagnosed with COPD each year. However, there is a misdiagnosis rate of 30%. A lack of symptoms in the early stages of the disease means COPD can go undiagnosed for long periods of time, which in turn results in a more rapid progression of the disease and a higher mortality rate.
To improve the prospects of COPD patients in the Netherlands, Philips and the Radboud University Medical Centre have put in place a HealthSuite Digital Platform. Thanks to fast-paced co-creation with clinical practitioners, healthcare providers and their eco-systems, the tool gives patients access to their diagnostic data. It also lets doctors continuously monitor patients via wearables and home sensors. The platform will help to increase accurate diagnoses, coordinate care and enable use of data analytics to assess care priorities.
Sweden is also going digital to improve chronic care. The Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm is home to the Swedish Rheumatology Quality (SRQ) registry, which aims to improve quality of care for people suffering from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. The SRQ, a database that follows patients over time, allows patients to report their outcome measures, or PROMs. Patients participate by entering data on their joint pain and current health status on a secured SRQ website. The information is then mapped and analysed automatically. Clinicians and patients share decision-making and outcomes of care are improved.
Innovations such as these prove the power of digital tools to deliver healthcare solutions. Scaling them up, though, will depend on getting healthcare payers on board when it comes to reimbursement, expenditures and funding.
EU Whitepaper, Action 3, p.15.
EU Whitepaper, Action 2, p.8
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.