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United4Health

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The aim of the United4Health project was to increase the use of telehealth in Europe by deploying telehealth services at a large scale and adapting the services into routine care.

Additionally, United4Health wanted to “validate and strengthen the evidence for chronic disease management by telehealth solutions, especially on effectiveness, cost-efficiency and transferability of the implementation of the services” by producing high quality evaluations of telemedicine services across Europe.

The project
The demands for healthcare services in Europe are changing rapidly and force health systems to ensure full use of all resource-saving approaches, including telemedicine. This implies not only adopting telemedicine tools and solutions, but also fostering professional management and governance approaches allowing these tools to be used in the optimal way.

For many years, Personal Health Systems (PHS) have been trialed, seeking evidence that their use can release a number of benefits in terms of both quality and cost of care, and experience shows that, if provided appropriately, telemedicine can deliver major advantages.

Concept
United4Health took the best from previous trials in terms of homogeneous interventions in all the pilot sites. The pilot sites represented the variety of healthcare delivery organisations and cultures present in the EU. The project capitalised upon the results of its predecessors, which allowed new regions to benefit from the experience acquired by the regions who participated in the RENEWING HeALTH project.

This also allowed, on one hand, aggregating data which came from different pilot sites because of the homogeneity of the intervention and of the inclusion/exclusion criteria and, on the other hand, stratifying results to see how the same intervention had a different impact on local healthcare organisations.

Services
The services trialed in United4Health had been selected from the vast range of services in RENEWING HeALTH. In general terms, they aimed to give patients a central role in the management of their own disease in a way that is convenient to their daily lives by the use of remote monitoring. The trials targeted diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease and ran for two years.

Evaluation
The primary element of continuity between RENEWING HeALTH and United4Health was the adoption of the MAST evaluation framework which had been validated in 21 different European settings through the RENEWING HeALTH project, and became a success story both within and outside the EU programmes. MAST was used throughout all the trials of United4Health, and ensured both quality and comparability of results with a number of complementary activities going on in the international arena.

The core assumption behind the project was that to make the most of telemedicine solutions it is essential to adopt innovative health and care service models which increase the personal control and engagement of patients and provide greater independence, so that health and care services can be delivered where patients want them in a cost-efficient and care effective manner.

The project’s driving philosophy was that telemedicine solutions provide value for citizens, providers, and payers by improving access to services (locally or in the home), reducing costs (reduced home visits, fewer emergency admissions to hospital), and increasing quality (more personalised and tailored care, easier involvement of family and informal carers).

The role of OUH
OUH acted as lead partner for the last 1½ year of the RENEWING HeALTH project and was one the first sites to publish results from the PhD studies in the project.
For that reason it was natural for OUH to be involved in the United4Health project as well. Additionally, OUH has developed and has the most experience with the MAST-model which is central in United4Health.

OUH’s core task in U4H is thus to educate the partners in the use of the MAST-model and to share our experience in the implementation and evaluation of our telemedical COPD service – monitoring after early discharge – which was one of the services that had been trialed and evaluated in RENEWING HeALTH and was further trialed and evaluated in other regions of Europe in United4Health.

United4Health was a three year programme, with two years of service trials included, and ran from January 2013 till December 2015.

Read more at http://united4health.eu/

Contact person

Claus Duedal Pedersen
chief Innovation Officer

Phone: +45 2115 3578
Mail: claus.duedal.pedersen@rsyd.dk

Permanent link to this article: http://old.cimt.dk/projects/innovation/previous/united4health/