In the framework of the SmartCare project, a delegation of the project’s User Advisory Board, which AGE was part of, had the opportunity to visit a concrete example of what integrated care in Odense, South Denmark, is.
The process is supported by the online SharedCare platform aimed to gather health and social care data across specific disease pathways (here for cardiac patients), accessible by both the professionals and by the end users. The platform includes a wealth of information needed to deliver adequate care and keep the patient’s history. It showed its great potential to improve the lives of older citizens, and is supported by highly committed professionals. The participants were introduced by the Danish pilot site team to the national health system and the long-standing history interoperability, as well as the SmartCare and the user involvement processes. Then, the visitors had the possibility to visit a rehabilitation center involved in testing the platform. The rehabilitation center uses new technologies also to link with users who live far or who cannot or do not wish to move to the rehabilitation center. The visitors were finally able to meet with professionals in the hospital, another key actor in the process, and exchanged their experiences from using the new system. While implementing fully integrated care in practice requires time and to overcome several challenges (separate budgets, levels of responsibility, multiplicity of stakeholders to involve and commit to the initiative), we could see the huge potential of what integrated care means for both professionals and end users, for better quality of care.