eHealth · Summer school

EHealth summer school in Dublin, day 2

The second day of the Dublin part of the eHealth summer school has soon come to an end. Even this day was interesting and eventful. Several case studies were presented, focusing on e.g. depression interventions, behavioural change, user-centered design and patients in self-care. Today, there was more focus on what makes an intervention/an eHealth project successful and what hoppens when the project (and the external funding) runs out. 

One particular example brought up was SilverCloud, a kind of online-intervention for e.g. depression and anxiety. A long and complex project resulted in the solution in use today. You really have to consider the diversity of users here – social and cultural backgrounds have to be taken into account. It is also hard to attract funds for such large projects and a hard part is also (not only for this project, of course) that technology is constantly being upgraded. The latter is a real issue when it comes to using an intervention after a project has ended (funding needed for upgrades may not be there). SilverCloud is one example of an intervention which is successful in that it is still in use after the research project has ended (now deployed by a company). Read more about the case by following the link given above. 

Another example of a case study was FeedFinder, an app which is used to find suitable breastfeeding locations. You can see detailed information about this eHealth solution by following the link. One of the interesting lessons learned in this case was that the turnout would probably have been better if the solution had been integrated into public health services. I think this is a problem that many similar solutions are struggling with – you have an app which solves a particular problem in a feasable way, but the solution is stand-alone, separate from e.g. the national healthcare platform. 

As was the case yesterday we also had quite a few group discussions and project work. E.g. we discussed how to design interventions with the purpose of changing behaviour, experiences (from the patient’s perspective) of searching for information about a health condition online and “the new normal” that a change in health status results in. In the latter case I e.g. described that I’m much more careful, and somewhat afraid of being in crowded places, after I was diagnosed with a rheumatical disease and got immune suppressive medication. 

The last session focused on how to build business models and this was also the focus of the project work. We should most and foremost clearly define the problem, the main goals, the customers and the users. The model we were to use was not only applicable when trying to pitch a solution to potential funders/stakeholders, but also very much applicable when writing research grant applications! I will definitely come back to this in later blog posts. 

Last, we also got the possibility to visit Old Library at Trinity College, just before lunch. We saw, among other old books, the Book of Kells. I took the picture above in the magnificent Long Room on the uppger floor!

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