Chronic illness is growing to pandemic proportions. In the EU, some 10 million people suffer from heart failure , 20 million have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  (COPD) and 60 million live with diabetes . Each year, these three conditions cost EU healthcare systems around EUR 125 billion. With CC&TH services, chronically ill people can be treated effectively in their own homes through remote management systems and integrated networks of caregivers. The ultimate goal of these services is to improve health and help patients help themselves by giving them more independence, freedom and control over their health and lifestyle. Clinical studies [4-6] have shown these services can help reduce hospital admissions, days in hospital and mortality rates. However so far CC&TH has been mainly limited to pilot programs due to the difficulty of translating such research into practice.
"The ACT program is a key step towards the widespread use of care coordination and telehealth services. It takes research in this field to the next stage of implementation. The program examines how best to deploy and integrate telehealth to improve outcomes for patients and healthcare systems, and ensure they are cost effective," said Professor Stanton Newman of Health Psychology, School of Health Sciences, City University London, UK and Principal Investigator on the Whole System Demonstrator, the largest telehealth trial conducted to date.
To do that, the ACT program brings together healthcare authorities, companies, universities and hospitals. Five partner European regions (the Basque Country and Catalonia in Spain, Groningen in the Netherlands, Lombardy in Italy and Scotland in the UK) deploy and operate their own CC&TH schemes for heart failure, COPD and diabetes patients. The systems will be monitored over a 24-month period to identify "best in class" processes, structures and ways of working. Data and experiences will be shared between regions, allowing promising candidates to be further optimized. The resulting optimized structures and behaviors will be published, allowing other healthcare authorities to develop their own CC&TH systems.
"Philips aims to transform healthcare through meaningful, patient-centric innovation," said Bas Verhoef, President Market Group EMEA, Philips Healthcare. "People increasingly want healthcare on their own terms, in ways that let them get on with their normal lives. Moving care from the hospital to the home makes that possible while also helping healthcare systems cope with the increased pressures due to aging populations and the growth of chronic disease."
"It is an essential evolution, but making it happen requires cooperation from across the healthcare value chain," continues Verhoef. "The ACT program shows there is a strong willingness to cooperate across Europe, and Philips is proud to lead such a strong consortium that is united in wanting to improve care and quality of life for millions."
Uniting leading European healthcare experts from a number of domains, the ACT program is part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA). The EIP-AHA is an initiative from the European Commission under its Innovation Union strategy, and aims to increase the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020.
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1. Braunschweig F, Cowie MR, Auricchio A. What are the costs of heart failure? Europace. 2011;13:ii13–ii17
4. Inglis SC, Cark RA, McAlister FA, et al. Structured telephone support or telemonitoring programmes for patients with chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;8:CD007228
5. Inglis SC, Clark RA, McAlister FA, Stewart S, Cleland JG. Which components of heart failure programmes are effective? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the outcomes of structured telephone support or telemonitoring as the primary component of chronic heart failure management in 8323 patients: Abridged Cochrane Review. Eur J Heart Fail 2011. Sep;13(9):1028-1040.
6. BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3874
About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people's lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 116,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare.