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Digital Innovation on Integrated Care for Ageing: a qualitative case study in South Europe with NASSS Framework


Pedro Rocha

University Of Porto | Icbas – Cintesis, Portugal, PT
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On the last decade, European stakeholders – with responsibilities on health, care and wellbeing for all older persons – are being really aware about the complexity of those results and discussions. Several policies have been deployed to link Integrated Care, Digital Innovation and Population Ageing, especially on services and organizations of Housing, Health, Long-term Care and Social Protection. Among others, we identify the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-on-AHA), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology for Health (EIT Health), and the EU Research and Innovation Programme 2014-2020 (Horizon 2020).

These policies have been promoted and funded partnerships (consortiums) between universities, research centers, companies and social organizations, which are developing innovation and research for improving integrated care models by the application of digital solutions for health and care. Results from these partnerships were found that technology-enable care are being adopted by services and organizations for the communication between providers to enhance healthcare management, for remote consultations, monitoring, prescription and care; for the health and social data analysis by bigdata technology; and for self-management and increasing autonomy.

Nevertheless, they were found as well that despite of differences (target group, support services, cultural background, health system context, national regulations, funds, resources, etc.), the digital innovation of integrated care for ageing has the same challenges and issues: payment models, governance arrangements, shared vision be-tween providers, clearly roles and responsibilities, trust and understanding of knowledge and expertise, insufficient information sharing, and tailoring services. Moreover, they were found barriers regarding political structures (legislation, centralization of services), technical limits (standardization and interoperability between digital devices), financial incentives and reimbursements, limitations for pilots’ scale-up, and resistances from professionals and patients (especially older end-users).

Facing those evidences, this communication aims to identify and analyse initiatives of technology enabled person-centred integrated care across Europe, that allow to understand two necessary interdependencies in Europe between Integrated Care, Digital Innovation and Population Ageing. On the one hand, it’s necessary an effective and efficiency integration of services and organizations that provide health and care for older population (Housing, Health, Long-term Care and Social Protection). One the other hand, this purpose of integration must be supported by digital innovation, which is already being recommended / adopted by many stakeholders.

Thereby, we will present the first results of a Case Study about a Portuguese Regional Health Organization, that was deployed by a qualitative methodology (documental collection; semi-structured interview; case-sheets elaboration; NASSS framework). The main conclusion is digital innovation improves integrated care models for ageing, despite their purposes, contexts of deployment and technology levels (new, scaled-up or transferred). Thereby, we have no interest whether digital innovation works or not works on integrated care services and organizations, but how complex is its ap-plication consider contextual factors, such as: choices, needs, expectations, preferences, pathways, and care ecosystems.

How to Cite: Rocha P. Digital Innovation on Integrated Care for Ageing: a qualitative case study in South Europe with NASSS Framework. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S1):134. DOI:
Published on 08 Apr 2022.


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