ICT4SDG | Regulation | SDG3
February 24, 2020

mHealth in Europe: Q+A with the Director of Health and Families of Andalusia

By ITU News

ITU, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Andalusian Public Health Service (SSPA) have just kicked off the activities of the European mHealth Knowledge and Innovation Hub to support the implementation and scaling up of innovative mHealth solutions by national governments, and to create an enabling environment and infrastructure for mHealth initiatives across Europe and beyond.

The project is funded by the European Commission. SSPA will lead a Consortium of 19 partners, representing both the public and private sector, from 12 European countries, to establish and manage the mHealth Hub.

“The Hub, as a knowledge and innovation point of reference, will provide experiences and tools to help healthcare systems advance toward the digital transformation of health and care.” – Dr. Jesús Ramón Aguirre Muñoz, the Director of Health and Families of Andalusia

The Hub will become a focal point for expertise on mHealth. It will provide services in areas of operational research, training and education, identifying standards, regulatory and policy gaps, and implementation support. It will have a dual focus on knowledge management and innovation, and on practical implementation.

Over the long term, the mHealth Hub will be a resource for Europe to support countries in deploying and regulating mHealth in their national health services, which can also be replicated in other countries around the world.

ITU spoke to Dr. Jesús Ramón Aguirre Muñoz, the Director of Health and Families of Andalusia, to learn more about his vision and hopes for the future of mHealth, and for the initiative itself.

What are your key goals and objectives for the European mHealth Knowledge and Innovation Hub?

As Regional Minister of Health and Families of Andalusia, the overall goals of the mHealth Hub will allow us to share our experience in the field of mHealth, facilitating the wider development and uptake of mHealth solutions.

In particular, the mHealth Hub will facilitate the patients’ accessibility to healthcare systems, improving the healthcare provided and overall health outcomes. At the same time, it will allow healthcare systems to have a better cost-benefit ratio.

How will this initiative help you achieve key health targets on a regional and national level?

This initiative will contribute to increased patient and carer empowerment, resulting in improved personal and family well-being. Patients will get better follow-up, improving interaction between patients and healthcare systems. A better and customized healthcare service will be provided, optimizing resources.

What are the advantages and challenges of integrating mHealth into existing health systems? How will this new Hub help overcome these challenges?

I think mHealth and eHealth are tools to provide improved healthcare, to take better care of patients and families. We have seen already advantages in the wider implementation of these types of solutions in Andalusia, for patients and families, professionals and the system overall.

For instance, having all medication in your electronic health record accessible to all health professionals and the pharmacies, and also to patients had helped avoid duplication and increase patient safety. Having your medication accessible in your mobile and connected to your eHealth record is of utmost importance for the patient.

All healthcare professionals benefit from a common repository of health information, improving patient follow-up. A big challenge for mHealth is professional implication and collaboration.

The Hub, as a knowledge and innovation point of reference, will provide experiences and tools to help healthcare systems advance toward the digital transformation of health and care. Healthcare professionals will have support to access these tools.

Besides, society is increasingly digital and the mHealth Hub will help to incorporate patients and families.

What are the main benefits of partnering with ITU on this new initiative?

ITU is one of the agencies of the UN system. For a regional government, it is a real privilege to be a partner together with ITU and WHO. The relevance of working with the UN system and ITU in particular, is an amplifier for our work in this initiative and beyond, allowing us to be in contact with a leading institution in the field of ICT.

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mHealth in Europe: Q+A with the Director of Health and Families of Andalusia

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