The e-Health sector is expanding rapidly and numerous innovations are now being designed to enable users to manage their personal data optimally.
These days the whole thrust of digital technology is geared to encouraging users to stop being passive and instead take charge of their own health and physical and mental well-being. This is clearly exemplified by the popularity of connected objects and the ‘Quantified Self’ movement. At the final of the EU E-Health SME Competition staged during the World of Health IT (WoHIT 2014) conference that took place in the French city of Nice on 2-4 April, the solutions offered by UK-based Big White Wall (winner) and German company ICW (finalist) were ranked among the best e-Health products and services provided by a small or medium-sized European company. Both of these companies provide patients with a means of managing their own health data and well-being activities.
Big White Wall was awarded first prize in the ‘Champion’ category (for companies with turnover above €500,000) at the finals ceremony. The UK company runs an online platform which provides personalised digital support to people who are susceptible to mental health problems. The platform guarantees total anonymity and allows users to communicate in confidence with a sympathetic community and/or request a helpful consultation at any time on the website. Mannheim-based finalist ICW offers a number of different solutions designed to improve coordination between all parties involved in a person’s healthcare. These include ICW Care Manager, a web platform which pulls together all the data on a patient – what the company describes as an ‘integrated clinical record’ – which can then be accessed by all practitioners. Every action and relevant piece of information is added either automatically in real time from the healthcare system, or by the patient or his/her doctor.
Taking charge of one’s own health
Nicky Runeckles, UK Managing Director at Big White Wall, explained that: “Our solution encourages people to self-manage and to take control of their own psychological health.” Some 80% of the members who have signed up to the site state that they can now manage their daily lives better thanks to Big White Wall. “The aim is to make people feel better, adding quality years to their lives,” underlined Ms Runeckles. ICW CEO Peter Kirschbauer revealed his ambitions to provide people with a new kind of ‘collaborative care’ and to “put the patient back on the path to self-management.” ICW’s basic objective is to improve the overall quality of individual healthcare through close collaboration between all the health practitioners concerned and the patient’s own personal tools.