Alain Rousset, President of the Aquitaine, Limousin, Poitou-Charentes region.
What eHealth policy is being implemented in the Aquitaine, Limousin, Poitou-Charentes (ALPC) region?
EHealth is one of our priorities, because this issue affects people, life in society, and regional development, but also the social and economic development of the region. The ALPC region has two goals that it intends to achieve through its e-health policy: promoting access to healthcare for everyone within the region and developing the healthcare system of the future.
What specific actions does this involve?
This involves firstly improving communication and exchanges between healthcare professionals (nurses, carers, doctors, specialists) and between professionals and patients, using information sharing tools, so as to improve the monitoring and quality of care. We then need to take action to stop the growing exodus of medical professionals from certain regions, through the creation of medical centres. For doctors, who do not want to work alone and who do not want to work 24 hours a day, these will provide a double solution. Doctors need some form of collaborative environment. We are also working on developing an ecosystem that encourages the start-up of innovative businesses in the health sector, in order to develop tools and services for the future.
What progress can be identified for this policy in 2016?
For a number of years, the three former regions (Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes) have been implementing key eHealth projects such as the introduction of the digital care pathway with the ‘Territoire de Soins Numérique’ project (TSN Santé Landes) and the regional telemedicine programme. Since 2012, the Aquitaine Region, in conjunction with the ARS and TéléSanté Aquitaine, has implemented a strategy focused on implementing digital tools through a regional call for expressions of interest (AMI e-santé). Ten regional projects driven by groups of healthcare professionals have been supported to boost the introduction of collaborative digital practices, with the central objective of ensuring continuity of patient monitoring. Financially, the Aquitaine region has contributed approximately 1 million euros. Another initiative run by the region is the Cluster TIC Santé Aquitain, which brings together industry figures, academics, experts, laboratories and representatives of healthcare professionals, and helps businesses to develop within the eHealth market.
What are the specific positives in your region that support the development of eHealth?
Aquitaine is a pioneering region in terms of eHealth, with 50% of French eHealth businesses being concentrated there. This is the result of a significant industrial presence, an historical desire within the region to innovate in healthcare, and a wide range of projects introduced in our region.
On this subject, what impact do the regional reforms have on the region’s eHealth policy?
The scale of the expanded region will make it possible to implement successful projects much more quickly. For example, in terms of the Silver Economy, Limousin is way ahead of the curve and the trials conducted can be extended to cover the greater region. Jurisdiction will be shared between officials: one responsible for healthcare, to provide general policy guidance and action on issues relating to health; one responsible for digital affairs; one responsible for innovation; and elected representatives in the region, whose tasks include providing the best possible response to the region’s healthcare needs and who work with the official responsible for healthcare. Solid partnerships will also be maintained with the other stakeholders in the industry: ARS, healthcare cooperatives, businesses, départements, municipalities, medical and social support professionals, associations, etc.
What are the key projects to be implemented in terms of eHealth for the region in the next ten years?
Installing very-high-speed networks throughout the region so that eHealth is accessible to everyone.
Developing the training of medical and paramedical personnel in new digital tools using e-learning. Continuing projects designed to improve management of patients suffering from chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes). Innovation is in our DNA, because good policy does not just manage the present, it anticipates the future. We will be exploring the creation of a university of the future: a place for information and training in NBIC breakthrough technologies (Nanotechnologies, Biotechnologies, Information Technology and Cognitive Sciences) for everyone and across all domains. We must not merely watch but, rather, be part of the digital revolution that is impacting all sectors, including health. By 2020/2025, the region’s overall goal is to support the transition towards personalised medicine, and to make the ALPC region the ‘incubator for tomorrow’s healthcare system’.