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SmartCare: First meeting of the User Advisory Board

The SmartCare project, launched in 2012, aims to use Information Communication technology (ICT) to integrate both healthcare and social care to tailor these services to individual needs of older patients. The project’s User Advisory Board (UAB) met for the first time on 5 June 2013. EPF is member of this Board to ensure the project takes into consideration the interests of older patients.At EPF we believe integrated care solutions are crucial to meet the needs of older patients. We are therefore strongly supportive of SmartCare as it promotes a more integrated and effective approach to providing health and social care to older people across Europe.

“We need however to make sure that older patients and their informal caregivers are put at the centre of this project. As member of the advisory board we will make sure that meaningful patient involvement takes place from the onset right to project completion” said Walter Atzozi, EPF Senior Programme Officer. 

Older patients are confronted with unique difficulties in addition to common obstacles faced by patients of all age. Key issues include the loss of autonomy and social isolation, lack of respect together with other concerns that can be aggravating factors: financial insecurity, guilt and fear of death.

EPF organised a major conference on the rights and needs of older patients back in 2011 (Link to report, PDF). Participants indicated amongst their essential demand the wish to remain independent for as long as possible. This can only be achieved with adequate support from primary and secondary care and the seamless integration of health and social care services.

From the perspective of patients with chronic diseases, the current health and social care systems need to be re-organised. This will ensure these systems can face demographic ageing and the associated rising prevalence of chronic diseases.

SmartCare has a huge potential for making all this really happen and we are sure that with the involvement of all user representatives this project will make a major contribution towards sustainable integrated care.

For further information on the project, please visit the SmartCare page or contact Walter Atzori at walter.atzori@eu-patient.eu.