Healthy ageing: how digital partnership can help
Aware of the challenges brought by demographic ageing, public authorities and private entities in the Netherlands are joining forces to set up policies and practices aimed to improve health in older age.
Examples of those efforts were showcased at a public event organized in October with our support as part of the EU-funded NESTORE project. The city of Rotterdam, Preventie Collectif and the NESTORE were invited to present their work to put health prevention at the center of public policies. Here are some of the highlights:
- An inspiring policy guide has been developed by the city of Rotterdam, together with an implementation programme Ouder en Wijzer (‘Older and Wiser’), working on a digital transformation agenda (eHealth Agenda Rotterdam) and a prevention charter Gezond010 (‘Healthy City’). Carina van der Beek, Health Policy Manager at the city of Rotterdam also highlighted local initiatives to couple prevention with health inequalities by using digital technologies.
- Dealing with health prevention and ageing in a life-course perspective was at the core of Preventie Collectief's contribution. Scientific evidence shows that prevention can reduce up to 50% the risks of developing dementia and of life-style diseases. Prevention throughout the life-span is the most powerful strategy for an healthy ageing society.
- Developing a virtual coach sustaining our effort and motivation to adopt healthy behavior for ageing well is the task of the European project NESTORE. By advising on exercises and practices to remain physically, mentally and socially active, NESTORE focuses on prevention in supporting healthy habit in people's everyday life, while supporting also national health systems.
- Developing such a personalised approch requires data collection, governance and management. Gaston Remmers, Chairman of the Holland Health Data Cooperative, introduced the 'citizen-science' approach that matches individual and social interest with research driven and citizen-driven science. This approach mediates between individuals and large companies managing data, and foresees a genuine data intermediary with a negotiating power among the various parties (citizens, patients, public authorities, insurances and private companies), and able to guarantee the optimal use of data whose profit can be reinvested in the health economy.
The panel discussion highlighted how these diverse initiatives share a common trend: they are all based on gathering, processing and using a vast amount of public and private data. If data is needed to develop and implement programmes and tools for advancing on health and health prevention, citizens are increasingly concerned by the potential misuse of their personal data. Yet, the return on investment of those data can benefit users and citizens directly, and as such be seen as an investment to improve health and health patterns, making prevention closer at hand for citizens, also for the most vulnerable ones.
Along these lines, the networking among participants was very fruitful, paving the way to new joint projects in Rotterdam developed jonitly by the city, Preventie Collectief, the Hogeschool Rotterdam and MyDataOurHealth intermediary, and with NESTORE supporting the exchanges and implementation within the remit of its action.