DCU and UCD developing EU project to improve older patients’ healthcare


Researchers from Ireland are helping to design and develop GERONTE, a low-cost health management system with software.

Irish researchers are playing a key role in a €5.9 million European project to develop a health management system aimed at improving the quality of life of elderly patients.

Researchers from Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin (UCD) will jointly design, test and prepare for deployment of a patient-centric and holistic health management system called GERONTE, funded by the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020.

As part of Lero, Science Foundation Ireland’s research center for software, researchers will take part in the five-year project to improve the quality of life of older adults on three dimensions: global health status, physical functioning and social functioning.

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Older adults with cancer and other diseases will be a particular focus of GERONTE, which also aims to reduce healthcare costs for this age group.

“An aging population has led to a growing number of complex multimorbid chronic patients in need of medical support,” said Prof Regina Connolly of the DCU, which along with the UCD is one of 10 EU institutions participating in the project.

“Hence, modern medicine requires a novel, patient-centric mindset for more effective treatment options, lower costs, and better decision-making.”

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According to its website, GERONTE is a rough acronym for “Geriatric and Oncological Evaluation Based on IC Technology”. The five-year program runs from April 2021 to March 2026.

“The aim is to provide specific recommendations on how to implement the proposed patient-centred intervention that will be rolled out in Ireland after the program is completed,” added Connolly.

Some functions of GERONTE include the coordination of management by a consortium of health professionals (HPC), the timely registration of symptoms and patient-reported results via a web-based app, and the collection of health data that is made available to the HPC and patients via a dashboard .

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Prof Anthony Staines of the DCU said that the standard of care is patient-centred integrated care and GERONTE will provide invaluable information on how to do and make this a reality.

“We need to learn how to introduce and change care pathways and how to use technology to support those care pathways for patients with complex needs,” he said.

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