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New European project looks into digitizing healthcare in rural areas

New European project looks into digitizing healthcare in rural areas

The initiative is led by institutes in Spain, Portugal and Ireland

Today, the official website of the Government of Aragon informed about the start of a new pan-European project in which the regional Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences is playing a central role. The initiative, called ROSIA (Remote Rehabilitation Services for Isolated Areas), counts with an overall budget of more than 5.5 million euros and aims to develop a working model for the successful management of chronic conditions of people living in the countryside by the year 2025.

Such a model should include the involvement of the private sector in developing cutting-edge solutions with the help of available technologies. However, it will also require a commitment to self-management and self-care on part of the patients, qualities which might be already intrinsic to people living in remote areas.

Depopulation of the countryside also spells trouble for quality provision of healthcare services there

This first stage of the project, which also counts with the collaboration of Coimbra University Hospital (Portugal) and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (Ireland), will work towards trying out working models in small scale localities in each of the three participating countries. The idea is with successful results to be able to apply the solutions on a large scale everywhere in the European Union.

Sadly, depopulation of the rural areas is an unescapable reality on the continent and officials have long been grappling with the ideas on how to reverse, or at least manage this trend sustainable without compromising the quality of life in places far away from the cities.

One of the consequences of demographic decline is the ageing of the rural population, which carries the need for comprehensive care for the chronic conditions that arise as a result. The problem is that for the successful treatment of chronic conditions, there is a need for regular consultations with physicians, which entails trips by the patients (or doctors) that end up being time-consuming, costly and unsustainable.

That is why the project partners are looking to the groundbreaking force of technology as a means to implement a model of tele- or remote rehabilitation programmes for conditions, such as chronic spinal cord injury, brain injury, pulmonology, arthroplasty, cardiovascular disease, hip fractures and COVID.

Using modern technology can allow developing tailor-made solutions which can range from augmented reality, gamified approach, etc all under the supervision of healthcare professionals.

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