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WHO - ITU mHealth Hub in EU

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - WHO-ITU-mHealth (WHO - ITU mHealth Hub in EU)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

The push to use Information and Communication Technologies, specifically mobile technology (mHealth), to support health care has been driven by the need to find cost-effective ways to improve quality and access to health and care services for a population that lives longer with increasingly complex chronic conditions.

WHO, ITU, Ministry of Health Andalusia (Spain) and the Hub Consortium partners worked together to create a joint mHealth Hub for Europe intended to serve as a mechanism to share success in mHealth across the European region and boost the uptake of mHealth solutions amongst national governments.

The objectives of this project were:
1. To establish an EU mHealth Hub for collecting and disseminating research and experience relating to the large-scale implementation of mHealth programs
2. To build capacity for the Hub to be able to support Member States and implementing partners in setting up large-scale mHealth programs
3. To define a business model for the Hub activities which ensures its service continuity and financial sustainability beyond the project duration
4. To create a platform to support innovation and upscaling of mHealth by convening cross sector stakeholders
The institution selected by ITU and WHO as the Host and Implementer of the Hub was the Andalusian Public Health System (SSPA), with the support of 15 partners from 12 different countries. The Hub was formally established on February 2020. The official launch of the Hub was at ITU HQ in Geneva on February 18th with participation of WHO HQ & Digital Health Department, the Delegation of Andalusian Regional Minister of Health and Families, representative of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN, the Hub Consortium partners and members of Missions of Spain, Italy and Austria to UN.

The Hub Consortium partners had a first face-to-face Workshop on 17-19 February 2020 to kick off its activities and to start the actual implementation and operationalization of the Hub. The Hub online platform was also launched in February 2020. It contains a COVID-19 apps Hub repository with more than 80 apps from public and private initiatives, a comprehensive list of health apps repositories in Europe and a repository of assessment frameworks.

In the two years period following the kick off meeting in February 2020 the Hub produced 11 public deliverables disseminated through the Hub website

•D2.1 Knowledge Tool 1: Health apps assessment frameworks
•D2.2 Knowledge Tool 2: An intervention-specific mHealth programme
•D2.3 Knowledge Tool 3: Integrating innovations into healthcare systems
•D3.3 Hub establishment report
•D4.4 Report on lessons learnt
•D4.5 Service Portfolio for sustainability
•D4.6 Report on performed countries support process
•D4.7 Hub Ethics Report 1: Ethical and Legal Aspects of the mHealth Hub
•D4.8 Hub Ethics Report 2: Ethical issues in mHealth Service Provision
•D4.9 Hub Ethics Report 3. Ethical Lessons learned – a deep dive in mHealth for diabetes
•D5.1 Document contributing to the Policy Framework for EU on Cross-Border Adoption and Assessment of Innovations

They contain guidance and recommendations to different stakeholders on how to plan large-scale mHealth programmes with a focus on the non-communicable diseases (NCD) prevention and management. Continuous feedback collected from different Customer Segments during the duration of the project motivated the development of KTs.
The Hub did not only analyse different needs and expectations of the different stakeholders in the entire ecosystem but also make them working together in a complementary way.

As such the deliverables were conceived in an interdependent way in order to produce a comprehensive mHealth package that can be tailored and adapted to particular needs of institutions or countries.
The high number of case studies and countries/regions that were investigated and analysed in the process of creating these deliverables stand proof for relevance of their content and representative coverage of European digital health landscape.

The deliverables were promoted during 46 events between Nov 2019 to Feb 2022:
•9 Hub Talks organized by the Hub Consortium
•4 country workshops (3 for Hungary, 1 for Czech Republic)
•28 international workshops organized by third parties

The deliverables were also shared with 23 countries and regions as part of Country engagement activities led by ITU and WHO: Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey, RCC+SEEHN, Croatia, Poland, Finland, Moldova, Germany, Romania, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Malta, Estonia, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Belarus, Ireland, Norway, France.

Hub received political commitment from:
•Hungary for co-creation of a Roadmap for the setup of a national implementation of an mHealth intervention in the area of Diabetes prevention and management
•Czech Republic for co-creation of a Roadmap for integration of mHealth in the national health system

As such the Hub established itself as an internationally recognized entity in the space of mobile health.

In February 2022, the Hub launched a "Hub Learn and Forum" Platform to bring the community together and exchange of knowledge and expertise in mHealth and open source material for integration of mHealth services in national infrastructures.
The Project worked towards five expected impacts:

1. Creating evidence on health outcomes, quality of life and care efficiency gains in the NCD management by using mHealth solutions.
2. Enabling mHealth to be deployed in national and regional level health services and to deliver large scale benefits, first of the selected entities, and later in the rest of Europe.
3. Becoming the focal point for expertise on mHealth in the EU and identifying and highlighting trends and gaps in policies, standards, regulations, etc. and best practices and barriers to the creation of consistent mHealth infrastructure and strategy.
4. Unique platform to support innovation in and up-scaling of mHealth by convening cross sector stakeholders
5. Creating synergies with the existing EU platforms of stakeholders such as eHealth network of Member States and also the EU EIP on Active and Healthy Ageing

The knowledge tools in WP2 address items 1 and 2. Items 4 and 5 are the focus of WP4 and WP5, while item 3 is the result of a successful project and an operational Hub. In WP4 the Hub partners defined a business model for the Hub that will ensure its service continuity and financial sustainability beyond the project funding.

The Hub served its two purposes: a platform to share success and best practises in mHealth across the European region and to boost the uptake of mHealth solutions amongst national governments. It had a dual focus on knowledge management & innovation, and on practical implementation.

The hub products supported the integration of mobile Health into the National Health Systems of European countries. Service Portfolio along with Business Modelling and a supporting Policy Framework are at the core of the Hub . Knowledge Tools and Ethics are enablers of the Hub Service delivery and directly feed the Service Portfolio.
Members States are primarily amongst the customers expected to benefit from the Hub services in the future.

The Hub supported governments in co-creation of roadmaps to set up large-scale, sustainable mHealth services, by this shifting the focus from NCD treatment to prevention.