Joanna Ulfvarson, Vinnova shares som of her thoughts from ALEC 2014.
Demographic changes and rapid developments in medical technology, raise new challenges for healthcare practitioners. The most notable of the demographic changes, in many parts of the word, is that a greater number of the population will reach a high age. The older the population, the greater number of illnesses that used to be rare and believed to be incurable in a younger population are anticipated in older persons. However, age is not a ‘problem’ by itself, but indicates that we will also have an increased number of patients requiring regular and reliable health care.
Medical technology offers a number of new tools. These tools include improved methods to reach people with information and to communicate advice concerning health care. On one hand it is even possible to treat patients at a distance, which saves time and resources. On the other hand, it is a challenge to ensure that communicated data are safe and secure. The systems used should also be capable of development.
Nowadays many consumers have access to information and communication infrastructure. This can increase their possibilities of self-care and decrease the burden for the health care services. This may relieve the pressure on common resources which is beneficial to those who require professional care. It is important to high-light digital progress and new technology and how it can transform the way we think about delivering health care. Areas range from healthy lifestyles, prevention, nursing, medical treatment, intensive care and palliative care. The possibilities are huge and citizens will be able to take control and responsibility over their needs in a much better way. Aspects to consider when development moves fast, is who will benefit and if they are represented in the planning for new models. User-driven innovation is a key aspect, also the gender perspective is important and should be natural part of discussion and evaluation of new tools and models.
ALEC is a meeting were the participants find out essential information of the latest development and brings together policy makers, health professionals, politicians, carers and innovators from the industry.