During the pandemic, the European healthcare system showed a clear lack of digitisation. But even after the situation has eased again, the healthcare system still faces major challenges which are bound to become worse in the coming years if a paradigm shift is not implemented. These challenges are also due to the increasing ageing of society and the shortage of qualified professionals.
The use of Smart Health technologies can bring improvements in this area, even though many hurdles still have to be overcome before new technologies can become part of everyday life for clinics and patients. A solid data base is the foundation for the development of high-quality digital health applications. However, the collection and use of personal health data in the EU is difficult, especially across national borders. Added to this is the ‘digital divide’: older and economically weak people are at a disadvantage when it comes to using smart health solutions, because they do not know how to use technology or cannot afford it.
Under the Horizon Europe scheme, the EU-funded SHIFT-HUB project team has therefore set itself the task of creating a network that brings together stakeholders from business, science, politics and society throughout Europe to facilitate and promote the development of smart health technologies and services and increase their adoption. The consortium, led by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, consists of 12 partners, among which business support agencies, universities with medical faculties, technology experts and a patient organisation.
SHIFT-HUB in a glance
The European Union funded SHIFT-HUB with EUR 2 million under the Horizon Europe scheme to establish a pan-European Smart Innovation Hub paving the way towards the future federated European Health Data Space.
SHIFT-HUB shows to be innovative and effective thanks to:
- The Living Lab methodology and an online gamification-based e-learning journey ensuring an immersive experience for patients and citizens;
- An Open innovation approach to foster a collaborative ecosystem of multidisciplinary stakeholders;
- A technical platform pilot including a Health Data Hub, a Smart Health Apps Repository and an online Marketplace.
By putting a strong community of emerging digital technologies providers, with the support of practitioners and the healthcare institutions they represent, at the service of patients and citizens, SHIFT-HUB aims to enable – through awareness raising – digital literacy enhancing and behavioral changes inducing a paradigm shift from a reactive to a proactive and personalized healthcare system focused on the maintenance of good health instead of disease management.
OUR STARTING POINT AND NEXT STEPS
The partners met in Stuttgart on 30 and 31 March 2023 for the first in-person meeting, hosted by the coordinator, and worked out strategies for the coming months in various workshops. In the first year of the project, the main focus is on community building, but the first technical solutions are also being developed.
The project team is currently working on analysing the needs of the different target groups and designing services based on the results. The next months will be crucial to ensure the greatest impact of SHIFT-HUB resources, which needs a strong collaboration among partners and the highest possible involvement of stakeholders.