Since 2010, Kiruna, in the Swedish far north, hosts the Arctic Light e-health Conference (Alec), where scientists, practitioners and decision makers envisage the future trends of e-health for regions.
This year’s edition, to be hold on February 4th and 5th is dedicated to the co-creating patient. Physicians, industry and decision makers are thus acknowledging the potential of an empowered patient to be responsible of his / her health, become involved in the decisions about his / her health, co-design e-health devices and- why not?- scientific and medical research. What 2008 or 2010 sound like something nice, but far from real life, what 2012 or 2013 looked like a future trend is becoming now day to day reality.
True empowered patients reduce costs to the e-health system, but this is not the only reason to work towards patient empowerment. Although reduced healthcare costs are very much in our all interest, considering that public spending cutting happens just in the moment Europe’s demographic change turns from prediction to fact. For companies, of course, working and co-designing e-health devices and systems is a guarantee of market aceptance in a sector that -until now- has not boomed as predicted, despite the huge amount of money poured in it by the EU, for instance via de AAL program. Yet the true winner from empowerment, the co-creating patient, is the citizen. Empowered patients mean citizens:
- with greater control over their health
- designing the healthcare they need
- being more democratically active in healthcare policies
- influencing companies to some extent