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eHealth in integrated care programs for people with multimorbidity in Europe: insights from the ICARE4EU project.

Melchiorre, M.G., Papa, R., Rijken, M., Ginneken, E. van, Hujala, A., Barbabella, F. eHealth in integrated care programs for people with multimorbidity in Europe: insights from the ICARE4EU project. Health Policy: 2018, 122(1), 53-63
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Introduction
Care for people with multimorbidity requires an integrated approach in order to adequately meet their complex needs. In this respect eHealth could be of help.

Aim
This paper aims to describe the implementation, as well as benefits and barriers of eHealth applications in integrated care programs targeting people with multimorbidity in European countries, including insights on older people 65+.

Methods
Within the framework of the ICARE4EU project, in 2014, expert organizations in 24 European countries identified 101 integrated care programs based on selected inclusion criteria. Managers of these programs completed a related on-line questionnaire addressing various aspects including the use of eHealth. In this paper we analyze data from this questionnaire, in addition to qualitative information from six programs which were selected as ‘high potential’ for their innovative approach and studied in depth through site visits.

Results
Out of 101 programs, 85 adopted eHealth applications, of which 42 focused explicitly on older people. In most cases Electronic Health Records (EHRs), registration databases with patients’ data and tools for communication between care providers were implemented. Percentages were slightly higher for programs addressing older people. eHealth improves care integration and management processes. Inadequate funding mechanisms, interoperability and technical support represent major barriers.

Conclusion
Findings seems to suggest that eHealth could support integrated care for (older) people with multimorbidity. (aut. ref.)