Building the Bridge from Modern Science to Humanity

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.

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Maria Habets |  2016

Care By Communities: Is It Possible?

European healthcare is facing significant challenges.  With an aging population, expensive health care services and with the decline of the classic extended family, it’s of the utmost importance to research alternative solutions that will help face these challenges. Healthcare in Europe has been a forerunner in developing new drugs and medical care to create the healthiest and longest-living society. But it comes at a huge cost. Countries throughout the European Union are looking at new ways of reforming the way healthcare is provided. Is community driven healthcare an option?

Discover “OpenCare”

OpenCare, the first online community driven project that addresses the social aspects of healthcare. This project is structured to re-design care services in a more sustainable way, taking advantage of the scattered collective knowledge of individuals and communities, then sharing it to improve the well-being of others. This open-to-all knowledge approach to care is the heartbeat of OpenCare with the intention to explore the conditions for communities to design and deliver their own healthcare services.

Positive Disruption

It’s time for positive disruption in health care, and in care services in general. Why? With the health costs on the rise, the system is under strain, and often, it reacts by denying care to those who need it most. This is morally unacceptable.  When the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko as well as many others, in the world of care has proven how much farther communities can go in taking care of their members when they are enabled to do it. This is a unique health care approach. It is regulated off the grid, run by volunteers, does not accept money and operates with no management. Time to challenge, engage and create alternative solutions.

Expected Outcomes

The OpenCare initiative is expected to help understand how to use the collective intelligence of communities concerning sustainable development and to explore community-driven healthcare. Edgeryders has partnered up with five world-class organisations in research University of Bordeaux, Stockholm School of Economics, ScimPulse Foundation, and City of Milan and WeMake to find, learn from, and enhance the experiences like the clinic in Hellinko all around the world.

Their goal is a model of community-driven care services, based on modern science, open technology, low overhead and human touch that communities can provide, while large bureaucracies cannot. The OpenCare project, is in support from the European Union through its Collective Awareness Platforms (Horizon 2020).

We are all touched by healthcare.

Check out this video that explains OpenCare >>>

Photo credit:

Björn Weigelt