Every citizen of the European Union (EU) should be able to access her or his own health data easily and securely within each EU member state. The Horizon 2020 research consortium “Smart4Health” aims to realize this vision by developing a mobile software application that allows users to collect, manage, share and donate their health-related data throughout the EU. At the end of September, the 18 consortium partners met at the second general assembly to enhance their interdisciplinary vision, share approaches and refine the first citizen-centred use-cases.
Smart4Health places the citizen in the centre of managing their own health-related data, which can contain diagnosis, treatment, medication, and physical activity data. The individual is thus empowered to securely share personal health data with whoever they choose (e.g. health care professionals, medical centres, family members). This can proceed both nationally and internationally, and also in cases where the data is donated for research activities. “At our second general meeting, at the end of September 2019, we demonstrated excellent progress towards Smart4Health main goals. About 50 participants enthusiastically presented and discussed the results of project development within the first nine months and constructively consolidated the working plan for the next six months,” says the Project Coordinator of Smart4Health Professor Ricardo Goncalves, dean for internationalization at FCT Universidade NOVA de Lisboa and head of Centre of Technology and Systems GRIS at UNINOVA, Portugal.
Developing use-case scenarios
As first steps, the Smart4Health consortium is developing different use-cases created with EU citizens from different environments and across society. The widely prevalent malady of back pain, which affects people of all ages, is a very common reason for medical consultation and brings with it societal and economic implications. The Smart4Health project therefore places special emphasis on this often recurring health issue.
The use-cases comprise real life setting examples: from people working with data in hospital, clinics or industry, to those travelling and conducting their daily life activities. The citizens will have the possibility to collect their health data through existing electronic health records or by generating their own data (e.g. using sensors and wearables or physiotherapeutic training).
“Those use-cases put the main focus on the citizen right from the start of the project. During the co-creation workshops we were able to develop new interdisciplinary approaches for different use-cases”, says Professor Erwin Böttinger, Head of the Digital Health Center at the Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany, and Scientific Coordinator of the Smart4Health consortium. “The Smart4Health will fill a gap in EU eHealth and personalized health initiatives.”
The use-cases not only include the personal management of electronic health data, but also address further questions, such as: How can citizens share their health records with their medical doctor? How can citizens donate and benefit from health data for research? The software application will allow users to securely share their data with chosen individuals within the EU such as health care professionals, but also family members. Users can also donate their health-related data selectively for research purposes in a de-identified manner. In the months to come the Smart4Health application will be developed based on the results from the various use-cases that are being conducted by the different consortium partners. This approach also puts the individual in the centre of the design, assuring that the software application will be easy to manage, interoperable and informative for every EU citizen.