impression: Second session of the eHealth What if Forum organized by UOC (Photo: Joan Castro, UOC)
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Credit rating: Image: Joan Castro, UOC

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented development in the discipline of digital wellbeing. A great case in point of this is the growth witnessed in applications these types of as Catalonia’s La Meva Salut, which, in little much more than a year, has found a bounce from 600,000 to far more than 4,300,000 end users. To analyse and debate every little thing we’ve acquired in excess of the period, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya’s eHealth Heart organized the first eHealth What If Discussion board series, which has just drawn to a shut.

Unfold across a few sessions with various geographical focuses (Spain, Catalonia and Latin The united states), a variety of well being procedure industry experts and stakeholders took the possibility to converse about the event’s theme: “What if the digitalization accelerated by COVID-19 enabled us to renovate wellbeing units?”


The pandemic, a catalyst for digital alternatives

For Albert Barberà, director of the UOC’s eHealth Center, “it has become distinct that the pandemic has been a catalyst for the implementation of electronic well being answers. Now the consensus is that, soon after a calendar year and a fifty percent, we want to have very good look at almost everything to analyse what is been helpful and what hasn’t, bearing in intellect that, given the complexity of the predicament, emergency methods had been generally offered.” All this without the need of forgetting that, as Marta Aymerich, UOC Vice President for Strategic Planning and Exploration, pointed out: “health care isn’t going to start out when we go to the health care provider, but is affiliated with how we are living in all the places and at just about every moment of our lives. Electronic wellbeing invitations us to glance after our possess wellness and that of the group at large.”

The conversations made it very clear that there is consensus all around a range of the favourable results arising from the mass use of digital health and fitness tools in the course of the darkest days of the pandemic. A lot more specially, on the web treatment prevented the program from collapsing at situations of greatest stress, digitalization facilitated and speeded up lots of procedures, and demonstrated the potential for and price of controlling a big amount of pretty sophisticated info.


Places for improvement

Even so, the ramping up process stemming from this extraordinary condition also confirmed that some places had area for improvement. At times, the rushed mother nature of rollouts resulted in pointless duplication, there were complications with altered protocols, and some promising applications, these as all those giving ‘test and trace’ products and services were being not finally executed or failed to verify to be particularly useful.

Further negative conclusions ended up taken from how some individuals seen digitalization as an undesired and lessen-high-quality replacement for in-man or woman treatment. However, there was arrangement in affirming that – if correctly created – electronic wellbeing does not entail the dehumanization of health care. In reality, on the contrary, it will make it simpler to invest a lot more time on people who really want it. It is a complement to, fairly than a alternative for, in-man or woman health care.

Though the emphasis of electronic well being is typically on technologies, the classes manufactured it distinct that the major challenges are not technological, but alternatively organizational in nature. As Barberà said, “technologies is just a device. The electronic transformation is a issue impacting pros and the common general public alike that entails a cultural and organizational shift.” That is why it is vital to always bear the general public in thoughts, not only when hunting at problems like the electronic divide, but also in developing solutions to meet up with their wants. They need to have to feel cozy with the channels applied and they have to have to form component of the decision-creating course of action from the get-go, not just at the stop.


Additional organization, training and methods

Yet another critical factor is the education delivered to specialists to make it possible for them to act as facilitators, simply because resistance generally springs from unfamiliarity. And they should feel relaxed with the applications and the way they are executed, also bearing in intellect the actuality that the pandemic has positioned the highlight on electronic wellbeing and has led to greater financial commitment. One particular grievance from major treatment through the pandemic is that healthcare workers weren’t constantly up to velocity on organizational concerns. Despite the fact that we have now found an improve in the variety of them who appreciate the strengths of the product, the deficiency of a clear organizational plan suggests a possibility of many contemplating it’s a lot easier to address anything in the standard, in-human being way. There’s also a fear of an too much workload and a deficiency of methods. It truly is not just a question of applying electronic options, but also a person of furnishing the means required for executing so effectively, as effectively as making sure that pros will not really feel that, relatively than a option, they result in much more do the job than ahead of.


International telemedicine to get over shortcomings

1 electronic health-associated chance more and more gaining traction is that of developing worldwide telemedicine to assist broaden the scope of services by addressing every single particular person country’s certain shortcomings. In the last session, Francesc Saigí – a member of the UOC’s College of Health and fitness Sciences and the recent series’ coordinator – offered the benefits of a lately published report commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank, which studied the prospects of building intercontinental telemedicine in a selection of different Latin American nations. The report, made up of the outcomes of a survey of 1,443 experts across 19 international locations, as very well as interviews with 29 authorities in the subject, exhibits that there is evidence of the advantages of establishing an global telemedicine model. However, only 17% of industry experts use this resource, and scarcely 20% intend and are completely ready to do so.

Some of the obstructions for its implementation are technological but, as is the situation somewhere else, lawful and organizational restrictions are also a variable. Furthermore, variations in federal government normally direct to policy setbacks, indicating there is a will need to begin from the floor up once again thanks to a failure to systematize the classes figured out.


Political backing to ensure optimistic adjust

For Barberà, there’s no doubt as to “the significance of digital overall health and of the examination of the info produced by wellbeing systems in the implementation of public guidelines, and this means searching for social consensus on how to use these details. […] It’s very important for there to be political backing for the electronic transformation, at both a national and supranational degree, [because] the increase witnessed during the pandemic may perhaps convert out to be simply a mirage, but it could also mark the start off of a needed change in our overall health programs.”



The UOC’s study and innovation (R&I) is supporting defeat urgent issues confronted by world-wide societies in the 21st century, by studying interactions between know-how and human & social sciences with a certain aim on the community society, e-studying and e-health and fitness.

About 500 researchers and 51 study groups work amid the University’s 7 colleges and two analysis centres: the World-wide-web Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Heart (eHC).

The College also cultivates on line discovering innovations at its eLearn Center (eLC), as nicely as UOC local community entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer via the Hubbik platform.

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and open awareness serve as strategic pillars for the UOC’s instructing, study and innovation. Extra facts: #UOC25several years

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