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ICTs and the Health Sector

Towards Smarter Health and Wellness Models

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The future sustainability of health systems will depend on how well governments are able to anticipate and respond to efficiency and quality of care challenges. Bold action is required, as well as willingness to test innovative care delivery approaches.

The greatest promise for transformational change is in applications that encourage new, ubiquitous, participatory preventive and personalised smart models of care. A whole new world of possibilities in using mobiles and the Internet to address healthcare challenges has opened up. The potential of mobile devices, services and applications to support self-management, behavioural modification and "participatory healthcare" is greater than ever before.

A key hurdle is, however, the big data challenge, dealing with the exponentially accelerating accumulation of patient data – all of which must be mined, stored securely and accurately, and converted to meaningful information at the point of care. In order to fully exploit the new smart approaches to care, acceptance, privacy and usability issues will also have to be carefully considered.

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Actions to build a smarter health and wellness future

The OECD-NSF workshop offered an opportunity to discuss and determine areas in which the OECD can provide further policy insight and expertise. Participants focused their discussion on four important cross-cutting dimensions for building a smarter health and wellness future: big data challenges, knowledge generation and use; meaningful innovation; the potential new risks; organisational and social innovation for an integrated care future. This chapter and Chapters 8, 9 and 10 map the current situation in these areas and the ways in which the new smart models of care present challenges and opportunities in each.

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