The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is leading an EU co-funded project to improve health and social care services in seven European regions through the use of new technology after a successful bid to the European Commission.
The BeyondSilos project will help improve support for older Europeans to live independently within their communities. Over 10,000 people in Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany are expected to receive improved services by 2017.
The BeyondSilos project will focus on providing ICT tools to join up care pathways across health and social care services giving care teams common access to patient data and supporting older people to manage both acute and long-term situations.
In Northern Ireland, the project will build on the successful Telemonitoring NI service, the Electronic Care Record and the NI single assessment tool to bring information together thus enabling better cooperation between care professionals, family members and those receiving care. This is very much in line with the Board’s Transforming Your Care drive to provide services in the home and in the local community and enhance people’s independence.
The project was developed jointly for HSCNI by the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency. In total €5.5m will be spent over 3 years across a number of European countries, with Northern Ireland spending €857,000, half of which is being directly funded by the European Commission.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: ‘Encouraging collaboration with our European neighbours to tackle common, health-related challenges has been one of my top priorities in recent years. This is not only enabling us to share knowledge and experiences with other regions, but it has also placed Northern Ireland in a much stronger position to maximise European funding opportunities.
‘The Beyond Silos project will enable a number of our existing health and social care services to be more closely interlinked, leading to better communication, better co-ordination and a smoother care pathway for members of Northern Ireland’s older population. Improving the integration of services in this way is key to the delivery of the patient-centred model of care which lies at the core of our healthcare transformation agenda’.
Sean Donaghy, Regional Director of eHealth and External Collaboration, HSCB commented: The Health and Social Care Board are pleased to be leading on this exciting project which will help us to meet the challenges presented by demographic change and ageing populations across Europe.
This is the next step in our journey to better co-ordinate health and social care for older people in Northern Ireland and build services with a lasting positive impact.
The demand for more integrated care has been growing steadily over the past few years, not only here but in other European regions as well and we look forward to working with our partners to address this”.
Among the services that Beyond Silos will help support is the further development of Telemonitoring in Northern Ireland (www.telemonitoringni.info).
Using special telemonitoring equipment, people with chronic conditions like heart failure, respiratory disease, diabetes and stroke are able to check their pulse, blood pressure, blood glucose, body weight, temperature and oxygen levels at home on a daily basis.
The readings are sent by a telephone line or a mobile signal to a Nursing Team who monitor the information and alert the patient’s Health Care Professional if necessary.
77 year old John Williamson from Dungannon is a Heart Failure patient who until last year was regularly admitted to hospital with his condition. To help manage his condition, John was introduced to telemonitoring by the Southern Trust’s Heart Failure Nurse Specialist, Edith Donnelly.
John said: “Telemonitoring has definitely helped to keep me out of hospital and improve my quality of life. The equipment is easy to use and gives me the reassurance that I am being monitored each day. I have learned much more about my condition and am able to recognise triggers so I can contact Edith right away.”
For more information on Beyond Silos, please visit www.beyondsilos.eu .