At the recent AgeingFit conference, held on February 6th and 7th in Nice (France), PROGRESSIVE partners Diane Whitehouse of the European Health Telematics Association and Frederic Lievens of the Telehealth Quality Group, together with Arnaud Senn from the European Commission and Lucas Perez of Health My Project, discussed how existing and future standards and legislation will shape the healthy ageing market.
From some of the introductory remarks during this conference session, it was immediately clear that a fragmentation of national legislations around health systems and social security does have an impact on the European Silver Economy, or rather on the heterogeneity of the silver economy in Europe. The panel members pointed out that this can create some difficulties around providing or implementing services and solutions in exactly the same way across the entire EU.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into effect on May 25th of this year, obviously will have particular relevance and impact on products and services in the field of ‘ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA)’ – i.e. PROGRESSIVE’s domain of action – when personal (health) data is gathered or used. The European Commission has actually just published guidance on the upcoming new data protection rules and also launched a new online tool dedicated to SMEs.
Also the Medical Device Directive (and CE-marking of medical devices) was discussed as being an important piece of European regulation for devices or software with a ‘medical’ purpose. Manufacturers and developers need to take into account that if their solution or technology has a medical purpose, it falls under this directive.
On the front of standards, the case was made for more user involvement and co-production, right at the start of the standards development process. By taking into account the users’ (older persons’) views and wishes, standards will address their needs and respond to any specific challenges that they face, and this will of course translate into products and services that are (more easily) usable and accessible for older persons and support active and healthy ageing.
Finally, networks and initiatives that support more European interaction and exchange around (standards and legislation for) active/healthy ageing, were seen as an important contributor to a truly ‘European’ Silver Economy. The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) was mentioned as one such initiative where good practice and experience is shared across European regions. Through its work on a better coordination of standardisation activities in the field of ICT for AHA and more user awareness and involvement, the PROGRESSIVE project is also supporting that same goal.