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Holistic, integrated, and smarter healthcare

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When it comes to holistic health, what's your vision for a new model of integrated care support for citizens' health through linked social and health care in the local area? Can the field of holistic health locally incorporate integrated systems for smarter healthcare right here in Sacramento? After all, holistic health care is thriving in Europe since social scientists proposed integrated information systems for smarter health and social care. Here in the USA, more holistic health practices need to be integrated into most health care systems and be covered by insurance, for example.

A new European Science Foundation (ESF) position paper calls for increasing use of ICT to deliver health and social care services. The new position paper, Developing a New Understanding of Enabling Health and Wellbeing in Europe, published February 5, 2013 by the European Science Foundation, highlights the need for change in health and social care across Europe, says a February 5, 2013 news release, "Social scientists propose integrated information systems for smarter health and social care." The European Science Foundation (ESF) Position Paper, "Developing a New Understanding of Enabling Health and Wellbeing in Europe" is available online.

As social care and informal care are essential to improving health and preventing health problems, especially in an aging population, there are still large gaps of knowledge in how best to organize this, and how best to combine it with health care. The position paper sees Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which are increasingly deployed in service sectors to enable consumer customization and better resource management, as the way forward for improved healthcare. For more information on ICT, check out the site, "ICT Center | Information and Communications Technologies."

The publication presents a vision for a new model of integrated care support for citizens' health through linked social and health care

It exposes current developments and challenges concerning demographic changes, ageing and established a concrete research agenda for ICT application focussing for instance on the relationship between patients and carers, the acceptability of ICT, the role of data, the organization and legal aspects or the financing challenge.

Developing a New Understanding of Enabling Health and Wellbeing in Europe underlines that "Research programs need developing at national and European level to stimulate a comprehensive and cohesive pattern of social science research into the means of achieving optimal ICT support as the enabler for a new integrated and partnership paradigm of health-related care." It highlights a number of priorities for important advances to be made toward the harmonization of healthcare delivery and informatics support:

  • Integrated delivery of health care and social care support of individual's health
  • Personalized care delivery including reasonable accommodation of individual choice
  • Ensure effective use of ICT applications based on user acceptability
  • Bring processes of consent, delegation, representation, coordination and privacy into the electronic era
  • Ensure respect for and teamwork with formal carers and the informal care team
  • Ensure equity in an electronic era regardless of digital literacy, assets and connectivity
  • Examine stable , sustainable models of trusted infrastructure provision
  • Establish governance, authentication, management, and sustainability principles.

This position paper is an outcome of the European Science Foundation's Exploratory Workshop, "The Challenges of Developing Social Care Informatics as an Essential Part of Holistic Health Care," held July 21-23, 2010 at Keele University (UK) with the participation of 23 international academics engaged in health care and informatics professions and disciplines together with legal, ethical, economist and patient interests.

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