Health Care is Evolving
For most of humanity’s history, healthcare services were provided by communities: family members, friends and neighbours. This was considered to be a natural network of collective support. The demand for professional care health care, social care, day-care for children and elderly care seemed infinite, but the resources the economy allocates towards it clearly are not enough.
If we try to rationalize the system and extract more out of it, it only seems to dehumanize the people in need of care. The people in need of care end up getting treated like a number in a manufacturing plant. Is there a solution that combines access to modern science and technology whilst creating a more accessible and human touch of community provided care?
Embracing a collective approach
OpenCare offers a solution with promise of bridging the gap between mainstream health care and community health care through embracing a collective approach. Recently, being granted 1.6 million euro for research to design and prototype new care services that directly effects humanity’s growth, expansion and well-being.
The Opencare project started in the first quarter of 2016 and is preparing for execution. However, we hope to see results this year after the online platform has generated meaningful conversations and researchers have documented their findings. The call for participation to enter proposals in underway. The vision behind OpenCare is an alternative to the way patients and health providers interact. Health and social welfare as we know it is broken, squeezed between rising costs and impersonality, if not dehumanisation, of their provided services. OpenCare aims at deploying collective intelligence to design, prototype and evaluate care services by communities, for communities.
The human right to health means that everyone has the right to the attainable standard of health and social care, which includes access to all medical services. Hospitals, clinics, medicines, and doctors’ services must be accessible, available, acceptable, and of good quality for everyone, where and when needed. This is a logical solution to reform health care; by creating a system that is guided by universal access, availability, acceptability and quality. Whilst remaining transparent and non-discriminatory.
This is the typical pattern of acknowledging failure and trying to be constructive and do something about it that permeates the culture of so many dwellers of the edge of societies. With the assumption that state and private institutions will be unable to meet the demands for care in the 21st century and that new, more open, participatory, community-based methods are needed.
Health and social care commands change in Europe
What is health care? Who gives it? “The state is the main health care provider”, say many Europeans. And sure, the welfare state is a major safety net in their societies. “Business is the main health care provider”, reply many Americans. They have a point too: their insurance companies, hospitals and clinics – most of these are businesses.
And yet, that’s not the whole story. Health care models are failing: per capita health care expenditure is growing fast. We need to spend an ever-greater part of our resources just to stay well. Pervasive healthcare technology is one of the methods for meeting the challenges of an aging population in many countries, as well as an expected major shortage of healthcare personnel.
Collective intelligence brings wisdom to health care
The topic of health and social care is human and should be handled in a humane way. We want to understand how collective intelligence can be used to solve social and health care problems. Clearly, the time has come to take a fresh look and an alternative approach to healthcare. This is not a question of injecting more technical know-how. The world is changing and we can’t build walls around ourselves. We need to make space for new visions and create a fundamentally new approach to healthcare.
The OpenCare Research Project consortium consists of a partnership with The Scimpulse Foundation, Edgeryders, the University of Bordeaux, the City of Milan, WeMake, and the Stockholm School of Economics. The consortium consists of members with different backgrounds, radical thinkers and doers, and just normal people that want to make a difference. With the support from the European Commission OpenCare is moving forward under the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme. OpenCare - a solution on the horizon to access and humanize European Health Care.
To find out more about the OpenCare: https://edgeryders.eu/en/opencare/project
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Maria Habets | 2016