The most common reasons for nursing homes or residences to admit elders are isolation, cognitive and physical inactivity, and sedentary behaviours. ehcoBUTLER has been conceived as a technological effort for helping to overcome some of the causes behind the loss of independent living in elderly people. At the same time, it makes stronger the ties with the elderly and their formal and informal caregivers. Based on a holistic approach, ehcoBUTLER addresses different but interrelated aspects of the elderly daily living activities and promotes healthy behaviours. Using a model of inclusive design, each component of ehcoBUTLER will focus on a specific set of common difficulties that the users might face in everyday situations.
The expected IMPacts of the deployment of ehcoBUTLER across Europe are:
- Increased patient independence, prolonging active participation in society, quality of life and integrated care processes for the elderly population.
- Reduction of costs for the healthcare systems and improvement of efficiency of care process: a) reduced admissions and days spent in care institutions, b) improved cognitive diseases management and treatment at the point of need, c) actual improvements in the daily activities of elderly persons through the effective use of ICT, and d) better coordination of the care processes between caregivers and families.
- Increased degree of interoperability and standardisation in the developed ICT solutions, with secure, seamless communication of data related to health and wellbeing among all involved parties.
- Strengthened European industrial position in eHealth and independent living products and services by creating new business models in new areas like cognitive disease management.
- Reinforced and scalable growth potential European academic and industrial knowledge base and excellence in multi-disciplinary research on ICT for Independent Living and Active Ageing.
- Largest portfolio and benefit for eHealth companies compared with other investments due to the availability of a wide open cross-platform ICT innovative ecosystem to quickly develop apps for MCI users.
As a result, ehcoBUTLER will contribute to the social and economic goals regarding Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) in Europe, bringing together high relevant initiatives. Furthermore, one of the partners (CIBER, Spain) is involved in the EIP AHA (European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing) in the Action Group C2: Interoperable independent Living Solutions, while the leader (EVERIS, Spain) is member of the Action Group B3: Integrated Care. This will guarantee that the project’s activities will comply with the recent policies and will be able to feed into the policy process, whenever relevant. The EIP allows for all stakeholders to connect and learn from each other, a significant advantage for the participants of the Action Groups. Furthermore these partners are also working to be included in one of the Reference Sites in Valencia Region.
Besides the success parameters that reflect the obtainment of project objectives, a set of economic, financial and social success parameters can be established on the project results. These parameters can be based on the one hand on Return on Investment (ROI). In most companies, a Chief Financial Officer will approve only a project if the ROI is at 100%, stating a clear financial success parameter for ehcoBUTLER. On the other hand, the Social Return of Investment (SROI) is defined as an extra-financial value, reflecting the social impact and social savings divided by the total business investment. The SROI by itself has little meaning, but a comparison and analysis provides a deep understanding on the impact of ehcoBUTLER and can be part of the success parameters of the project.
Before starting a new initiative, it is essential to evaluate the potential economic, social and environmental consequences. The following impact assessment of ehcoBUTLER gives decision-makers evidence regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the initiative. It explains why this action should be taken at EU level:
“ehcoBUTLER will contribute to the social and economic goals regarding Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) in Europe”
In order to define a viable business and financing model with the ehcoBUTLER results, WP6 will define use different methods. The Long term care business case tool of TNO is a good example that is currently used for AAL projects in health care to define such a business case [www.businesscase-longtermcare.com /Businesscase.aspx]. The tool makes it possible to compare costs/efforts and benefits/effects of an innovation. This is done by implementing data on the current situation before the use of the innovation tool and implementing data on the situations after the use of the innovation. It is expected that ehcoBUTLER will make it possible to reduce the time professionals spend on developing a care plan and will allow older persons with MCI maintain a good structure at home, which will lead to less efforts to keep it at the day centre.
The ehcoBUTLER consortium is composed by a multi-disciplinary (including Psychologists, Geriatricians, Computer Scientists, Electronic and Social Scientists, and User Experience Interface experts) team of academic institutions, private companies, public assistance hospitals and national foundations for elders. The exchange of knowledge and experiences from different points of view will allow the identification of the key –scientific, ethical and societal– challenges in the project and will enrich the final product.