European Public Health WEEK
11-15 May 2020
Joining forces for healthier populations
Tuesday 12 May:
PRIMARY CARE IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Technology is increasingly becoming part of our health systems and it holds great potential for improving health care delivery and person-centred care. While it does not replace the value of human interaction between patients and health professionals, digital tools can enhance this interaction. How do you balance technology and person-centred primary care in your local context?
COVID-19 and primary care in the digital age
Telemedicine and e-health; management of chronic diseases; supporting health workers in the fight against the virus; digital literacy
International Nurses Day (12 May); 2020 is the year of the nurse and midwife; human versus digital interaction; integration of social services into primary care; integration of lifestyle (e.g. sports); universal health coverage (leaving no one behind); providing services everywhere; health promotion in primary health care; preventative health care; opportunities from the digitalisation of the health system; public health domains within primary care
- Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings such as COVID-19 and are key to advancing universal health coverage.
- COVID-19 highlights how important it is for all nurses to have access to the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance required to respond to such outbreaks. It also underscores the critical (and far too often unmet) need for protective equipment so they can safely provide care and reduce the rate of infection in health settings.
- Ensuring continuity of essential health care services is key for managing pressure on hospitals and services designated to manage COVID-19.
- Ensuring that the general public has access via digital platforms to timely, expert advice in health emergencies can save lives.
- The use of digital health improves the timeliness and accuracy of public health data collection and reporting and facilitates disease monitoring and surveillance.
- Digital devices help people manage their health: preventing or diagnosing disease, helping patients monitor and manage chronic conditions, and making medicine more tailored to individual needs.
- Electronic health records capture information about an individual’s health, medical conditions, medications and key events, which can be shared for referrals and help clinicians and policy-makers make better decisions.
OTHER FACTS AND FIGURES
- The term ‘digital health’ is used by WHO as an overarching term to include eHealth and mHealth (e.g. telemedicine, electronic health records and wearable sensors) as well as developing areas such as the use of advanced computing sciences in the fields of big data and artificial intelligence, for example. Digital technologies also include some medical devices and assistive devices.
- Nurses and support workers make up the vast majority of the health professionals who support and care for the older people, one of the most vulnerable groups to the COVID-19 pandemic. Older people’s vulnerability to COVID-19 therefore increases as these health workers are left unprotected. They can be protected from COVID-19 through adequate training, protective equipment and up to date information on how to recognise the symptoms of COVID-19.
- As hospitals shift their focus on managing acute care for patients with COVID-19, primary care and community services will be essential to:
- be prepared and reinforced to absorb non-COVID-19 patients avoiding hospitals in fear of COVID-19;
- support patients with complex and chronic diseases who depend on continuity of services and care to avoid decompensation that requires hospitalisation.
- Member States are capitalizing on the value of big data and the power of artificial intelligence to support complex clinical decision-making and the identification and reporting of adverse events.
- “We will use a variety of technologies to improve access to health care, enrich health service delivery, improve the quality of service and patient safety, and increase the efficiency and coordination of care. Through digital and other technologies, we will enable individuals and communities to identify their health needs, participate in the planning and delivery of services and play an active role in maintaining their own health and well-being.” - Declaration of Astana, 2018
- Digital technologies collect big data for evidence-based policy decisions, and then help monitor the impact of policies on population health.
- Technologies help to connect health care facilities to remote locations or people’s homes through telemedicine, remote care and mobile health systems.
- Health in the 21st century (OECD, 2019)
- Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future (NHS, UK)
- Digitalization: Potentials and Pitfalls from a Public Health Perspective (Supplement to the European Journal of Public Health)
- State of Health in the EU. Companion Report 2019 (Chapter 2. Harnessing the digital transformation of health promotion and disease prevention)
- Artificial Intelligence: How to get it right, Putting policy into practice for safe data-driven innovation in health and care
- Thinking on its own: Artificial Intelligence in the NHS
- EUROHEALTH: Digital Health Systems
Partners of this day:
EUPHA Sections: Health Technology Assessment | Digital Health