The European mHealth Knowledge and Innovation Hub was established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and the Ministry of Health of Andalusia, Spain, in order to support the integration of mobile health (mHealth) services into the national health systems of European countries.
The mHealth hub started as a European Commission funded project for collecting and disseminating research and experiences related to the large-scale implementation of mHealth programmes. The project built on the success of the Be Healthy Be Mobile joint initiative between WHO and ITU in scaling up evidence-based digital health solutions in the areas of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The Hub was operated by a powerful and skilful consortium of 17 public and private partners from 12 European countries led by the Andalusian Public Health System.
The Hub collected, assessed and consolidated existing information in priority areas, resulting in many valuable hub resources and, most importantly, in a significant learning about and understanding of the landscape. The mHealth Hub produced a set of Knowledge Tools that focused primarily on prevention and management of NCDs and provided advice and guidance on large-scale implementation of mHealth services and interventions. The Hub investigated the assessment and adoption of the mHealth applications from a cross-border perspective.
The Hub also set the grounds of a policy platform to strengthen the adoption of mobile technology in European national and regional health systems. Another objective for the project was to build capacity in the Hub to support European Members States and regions in setting up large-scale and integrated mHealth programmes. Close collaboration with national policy makers in target countries took place to provide them with tailored support meeting local needs and capacities.
The Hub is built as a platform for sharing knowledge and success stories on mHealth. Increasingly, the aim was to open up the European mHealth Hub project to a much wider scope and community.
Over the long term, the Hub is expected to become an independent and self-sufficient entity, which will keep providing support for countries and regions to scale up their own national mHealth services. The Hub is expected to become a strategic resource for the development of safe, effective and accessible mHealth solutions.
As such In 2023, the Hub is now ready for its next challenge – its transformation from a project to a service. The WHO and ITU remain the hub owners, and I~HD, EHTEL and Oulu Health have taken over the Hub’s transformation and operation. Together with the WHO and the ITU, the three organisations make up the Strategy Board of the mHealth Hub.
As part of this transformation process, the hub is taking stock of the valuable resources and community of followers developed during the project phase. The Hub is reaching out to a larger mHealth and digital health community as well as potential partners.
The mHealth Hub main aims are:
To serve as a knowledge focal point for implementation of Digital Health, and in particular mHealth, innovations.
To act as facilitator of innovation in mHealth.
To act as an accelerator for the EU Digital Single Market.
To provide a code of ethics for mHealth data.
To support countries in implementing mHealth strategies.
In the Hub’s first year of work after its re-launch, hub members will explore ways to expand and grow the hub services, members, and partners in a sustainable way. The focus for 2023-2024 will be on engaging the mHealth community in:
Developing a common understanding of selected topics of high interest for the community (i.e. reimbursement schemes, clinical value assessment, integration into eHealth systems)
Sharing the results of the hub’s work with the community at large
Building partnerships towards the transformation of the hub into an information access point.