New e-health projects
27 e-health projects are to be launched this year by the European Union following a call under the EU Framework Programme 7 (FP7).
FP7 funds will be used to support research into monitoring systems for patients with chronic diseases. In particular, such tools should provide improved quality of life for chronically ill patients, enabling them to stay at home rather than have to be admitted to hospitals.
The Seventh Research Framework Programme, which is set to run until 2013 with a budget of €50 billion, has launched projects in three key areas; ICT for personal health systems, ICT for patient safety, and international cooperation on virtual physiological human research.
The EU's Research and Development Framework Programmes aim to bring together teams from different organisations and EU countries, to combine knowledge and experience to improve the standard of living for people in Europe.
Personal Health Systems
The projects around Personal Health Systems look at key technologies, such as biosensors and secure communications, which can be built into 'smart clothes' and implants which help patients and their doctors monitor and manage their health status.
Newly launched projects include the ICT4Depression consortium. Major depression is currently the fourth ranking disorder worldwide in terms of disease burden, and is expected to be the disorder with the highest disease burden in high-income countries by 2030. Estimated costs of depression are annually 177 and 147 million euro per 1 million inhabitants for major and minor depression respectively. Current treatment methods for depressive disorders can reduce the burden of this disease with about one third.
ICT4Depression consortium is developing ICT-based system for primary care to improve access to treatment by providing devices for monitoring activities and automatic assessment of the patient using mobile phone and web based communication.
Patient Safety projects address developments around software tools to help health professionals have the greatest possible information available to them whenever they make decisions which may have an impact on patient safety.
In addition, the Virtual Physiological Human is a network of researchers in the fields of bio-informatics, genomics, and neuro-informatics to help create a new generation of e-health systems to assist them in disease prevention, diagnoses and treatment.
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