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New EU-project to help patients suffering from long-term illnesses



A three-year RENEWING HEALTH –project has started in the European Union area. The benefits of telemedicine and Health coaching in treating patients suffering from long-term illnesses are widely studied in this project.

Almost 8000 patients from nine European countries, each country represented by one province, will participate in the research study. The Social and Health District of South Karelia, Eksote, is representing Finland. In Finland, a total of 400 type 2 diabetes and heart disease patients are recruited to this project during years 2010 and 2011. The actual study begins in 2011.

The research patients involved in the project, are provided with measuring device for domestic use to support managing their self-care, along with the support from their personal Health coach. The patients are able to record the values that they have measured at home (e.g. weight, blood pressure), in the data base by using a mobile phone. They can also see their measuring results in the data base and their Health coach is able to utilize the results in Health coaching.

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Oy’s subsidiary Preve Oy is in charge of implementing the Health coaching in the RENEWING HEALTH –project, as well as all the training and quality control of Health coaching related to the project. Pfizer has implemented Health coaching by phone –projects in USA, Great Britain, Italy and Finland. The first Health coaching project in Finland (TERVA) was implemented in the Päijät-Häme district in 2007; there 1000 patients with long-term illnesses had a personal Health coach.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has had a significant role in starting of the RENEWING HEALTH –project in Finland. It provides expertise in health information management and remote monitoring solutions for Eksote in this project. VTT is a multi-technological applied research organisation with a comprehensive international collaboration network. One of VTT’s key focus areas is on developing solutions that improve health and wellness.

“In this project six public health nurses or registered nurses will have an opportunity to be trained for Health coaches. This is the best possible way to receive EU funding for the development work that supports our strategy. We anticipate that electronic business will help Eksote to direct our resources wisely and to improve the customer satisfaction”, says Project manager Tuula Karhula, acting Service Director in Geriatric Care.

“We believe that by motivating and teaching people to be more responsible for managing self-care and providing them with tools to follow-up their own health, we will be able to take better care in the future of the ever growing amount of elderly population.”