Digital Health Care for Migrants: EU Funds Software of the Future

Written by | Monday, August 21st, 2017

The European Union provided €3.6 million to develop software that helps immigrants get access to healthcare services across the bloc. The software was tested in Spanish health centers in Barcelona and Tarragona and it can be used on laptops and tables in immigrants’ native languages targeting mostly newcomers from the Middle East and North Africa. “Migrants who arrive in European countries may not be familiar with the health system at all,” said Leo Wanner, the head of the project. “Our agent would be able to assess their problem based on their age, location, gender, and other things – so it can tell them in natural language where they need to go,” he added.
The funding was provided under the Horizon 2020 program that, however, runs out next year. Researchers nevertheless hope that they will still be able to turn the software into an app. The European Commission is about to introduce new measures in digital health services by the end of this year. In July, the Commission launched a three month-long call for public feedback on health-related issues like data analysis of digital health records cross-border access to health data in the EU.
The EU executive wrote that digital health tools can “support the transition from a hospital-based healthcare model to a person-centered and integrated model” and help “citizens to access their health data everywhere in Europe”. The Commission seeks to enhance digital services in health care so that all citizens can ”in full privacy and confidence, access and transfer their complete electronic health record when receiving healthcare abroad”.

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