In April 2021, the Digicare4You project held its kick-off meeting, officially launching a five-year multistakeholder Horizon2020-funded project. The 16 consortium members from Europe, the US and Australia gathered online for two days to mark the start of the project and to delimitate the scope of each member´s work amongst the nine different work packages of the project.
What is DigiCare4You?
DigiCare4You aims to improve the early prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and hypertension (HTN) via a community-based, person-centred solution, integrating both social and healthcare systems, supported by the use of digital tools. The project’s overall objective is to assess the scalability and transferability of an intersectoral innovative solution involving digital tools, aimed at empowering families and integrating community care services in Europe for the prevention and management of T2D and HTN.
How will the project be conducted?
An implementation study will be conducted, targeting more than 10,000 families in two middle-income countries (Albania and Bulgaria) and two high-income countries (Greece and Spain). Schools will be used as an entry point to the community and, building on an existing procedure for children’s periodic growth assessment (conducted via school nurses or in collaboration with local community health centres), parents/caregivers will be screened via a non-invasive self-reported digital screening tool.
Those identified at high risk for T2D/HTN will be referred for glycaemia testing and blood pressure (BP) measurements at local community health centres. Parents/caregivers confirmed to have pre-diabetes or diabetes (and possibly high BP) will be invited to join a mHealth self-management intervention coordinated by the community healthcare workforce.
What is the aim of the project?
The goal of this intervention is not only to improve the health status of the users, but also to empower the entire family in adopting a healthy lifestyle. To this end, schools and communities will also be actively engaged to promote health literacy, well-being and support lifestyle changes creating a more supportive social and physical environment for the entire community. As a large part of the healthcare costs associated to T2D and HTN complications can be preventable, early screening will benefit and alleviate saturated healthcare systems.
What has been achieved to date?
Six months after the launch, and despite the complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, much progress has been achieved.
Stakeholder engagement and situation analysis: in all four intervention countries, local Stakeholder Advisory Boards (SABs) have been established, consisting of “implementers” and “end-users” of the DigiCare4You solution, such as policy makers, local authorities’ representatives, community health workers, school personnel (teachers and school nurses), representatives of local patients’ associations and local School Parents’ Councils. A comprehensive situation analysis has also been completed recording current policies, legislation, regulatory procedures and services for the prevention and management of T2D and HTN. Focus groups with the local SABs are being organized and will be held in the next couple of months to collect data on potential barriers and facilitators for incorporating the DigiCare4You solution into the daily practice of primary prevention in a cost-effective and sustainable way. Finally, a rapid literature review on mHealth and community-based interventions for the prevention and management of T2D and HTN has been performed to identify best practices and the components required to develop and successfully implement the DigiCare4You intervention in each country.
Ethics, legal & regulatory compliance: the first version of a detailed Data Management Plan (DMP) has been drafted, describing the handling of research data during and after the end of the project. The legal and ethical framework applicable to the project is currently being developed.
Communication and dissemination: the first version of the strategic dissemination, exploitation and communication plan has also been developed to elevate the visibility of the DigiCare4You project to all key stakeholders.
More information on the project can be found on www.digicare4you.eu
For more information about the project, please contact us via the contact form.