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Researcher exchange and training to tackle future healthcare challenges

A future challenge for healthcare is how to provide improved services to an increasing number of people anytime and anywhere using limited financial and human resources. An EU initiative gathered a multidisciplinary network of researchers to address this challenge.

Digital Economy
Health

Pervasive healthcare is considered the future of global health services, removing time and place while increasing coverage and quality. It accommodates the growing need for healthcare arising from several factors. These include the increase in lifestyle and chronic diseases, complexity of large healthcare organisations, provision of services in developing countries and the shift from treatment to preventive medicine. The EU-funded UBIHEALTH (Exchange of excellence in ubiquitous computing technologies to address healthcare challenges) project carried out knowledge exchange and training activities to gain the necessary know-how and expertise to deal with next-generation healthcare challenges. The project equipped early-stage researchers (ESRs) from around the world with expertise in pervasive healthcare by collaborating with experienced researchers (ERs). ESRs, ERs and host institutions from Europe and associated third countries such as Chile, China, Mexico and the United States shared knowledge of requirements and available technologies for healthcare. This will allow ESRs to improve the impact and provision of healthcare for both preventive medicine and alternative means of treatment. ESRs were able to experiment with novel technologies and approaches in different healthcare settings and to establish a network of peers between Europe and third countries. They improved their collaborative research skills in pervasive healthcare by attending summer and winter schools in Chile, Italy and Mexico. Several workshops and conferences were organised, including the high-profile International Pervasive Health Conference. Four of the eight submitted project proposals received funding. In total, 52 joint publications were presented in journals and at various workshops and conferences. UBIHEALTH fostered expertise and knowledge exchange in the EU and beyond. By doing so, it will advance the state of the art in pervasive healthcare to improve the future of health services overall.

Keywords

Pervasive healthcare, preventive medicine, UBIHEALTH, ubiquitous computing technologies

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