Building a better healthcare future through collaboration and technology
The future is here: everyday healthcare is now intertwined with technology at every level. From improved record-keeping to smartphone apps that patients can use to track health progress, the technological infrastructure that has grown up around healthcare provides benefits that the previous generation couldn’t dream of.
But gaps remain - these systems lack the ability to deliver the knowledge and insights they gather back to the researchers, clinicians and patients they are intended to support.
EURECA, a European project, gathered 18 partners including ecancer from countries across Europe. Our shared mission was to identify – and close - these gaps by linking health information in electronic health record systems to information in clinical research information systems, such as clinical trials.
Oncology was selected as the focus domain for EURECA because of the incidence of cancers, the complexity of data collected and of the therapy options – but many of the objectives could be used in other healthcare domains.
The collaboration started in January 2012 and finished in July 2015. Now that the project is over, a retrospective look at the achievements of the past years shows just how far this mission has come.
EURECA has enabled many sites to connect clinical care and clinical research, creating an infrastructure that uses multiple standardised technologies and terminologies.
EURECA has created 15 different tools to manage healthcare through technology, ranging from a clinical trial recruitment tool through to a tool for the prediction of Serious Adverse Events. These tools are general enough to be applied to a number of scenarios that are important to clinical research.
And these products can be used in real-world clinical settings - a tool for a microbiology-based scenario will be used beyond the end of the EURECA project, following a test phase at the University Hospital of Saarland at all wards.
Two tools will also be used for clinical trials at the Department of Paediatric Oncology of the University of Saarland.
EURECA formed an alliance with The European Institute For Innovation Through Health Data, which will help to combine and sustain the results of many European research projects. The new institute aims to facilitate and using intelligence from health data, including mobile health data.
The flexibility and usability of these tools will mean that they can be applied in a range of healthcare settings.
Three years ago, when ecancer set out as the dissemination and communication partner in EURECA, they said that “The ultimate winners from EURECA will be the patients, the public and the healthcare services.”
But looking back at what's been achieved, we think all the partners are the winners too.