After funding five demonstration projects at the end of last year, the government of Flanders has selected nine more that meet the criteria of two additional calls for projects. The second call focused on cooperation between health-care providers and entrepreneurs, while only care partners could present their project for the third call.
“We support innovations that are nearly ready to be implemented, but the quality and financial feasibility need to be tested on a relevant target group of users,” explains Karolien Hantson of the Impulse Office of Flanders’ Care. Target groups of all projects are elderly persons, people with dementia and the disabled.
All of the projects currently being tested are designed to help these target groups remain independent and to ensure that the health-care sector continues to reach more people. In the Telerehab III project, for example, lifetech company Yorbody Belgium, the Jessa Hospital and University of Leuven help chronically ill heart patients build their physical condition via e-coaching and a movement meter – the Yorbody.
“The Yorbody determines your physical activity and sends text messages or e-mails with exercise suggestions based on your personal profile, while cardiologists monitor your condition,” explains David Manshoven, head of Yorbody Belgium.
The Christian Mutuality (CM) in Leuven, meanwhile, has teamed up with telecommunications company Belgacom and home nursing organisations Landelijke Thuiszorg and White Yellow Cross to provide video communication in home care. Elderly people, disabled persons and chronically ill patients who feel socially isolated receive a tablet computer to communicate with family, friends and nurses. “Those without a social network are put into contact with trained volunteers,” says Karolien Machiels, project coordinator of the home care department at CM Leuven.
Three projects improve the sharing of medical data. For e-Diamant, high-tech enterprise Fifthplay provides internet gateways that young people with type 1 diabetes – a lack of insulin – will use to transmit their blood sugar levels.
The technology automatically sends the measurement values to an electronic platform that the youngsters, their parents and the doctors of the Diabetes Clinic for Children and Adolescents of the Antwerp University Hospital can access. “The doctor can react immediately if something is wrong, and parents get an insight into the behaviour of their child,” relates Peter Van Vooren, sales director of Fifthplay.
The same concept applies to 1heart2care4 of the White Yellow Cross Limburg, the Hospital East Limburg and the University of Hasselt. With a telemonitoring system, elderly persons with chronic heart failure measure their blood pressure, pulse and weight. The results are shared on a platform accessible for cardiologists, nurses and doctors.
“We give patients the ability to take care of themselves while assuring their security,” says Luc Bijnens, director of White Yellow Cross Limburg. “A health-care provider is always ready to intervene.”
Also using technology is the interactive eZorg communication platform of Landelijke Zorg, which uses technology normally employed by the banking sector, with which patients can share medical data with doctors and nurses.
As a preventive care project, the White Yellow Cross of East Flanders equips health-care providers with tablet computers to follow up the electronic files of patients with chronic pain, diabetes or bedsores.
“We can avoid long-term stays in the hospital and postpone a move to a rest home by detecting problems earlier,” says Mia De Caluwé, director of care quality and innovation at the White Yellow Cross East Flanders.