Digital health innovations: assessment of their impact on health and economic outcomes

With the ageing population in Europe, an increase in the number of people with chronic diseases, limited health care budgets and the means to treat patients at low cost is becoming more and more of an issue.

Recently, a European blueprint was established with the objective of optimizing health care provision to the aging population with the help of digital solutions. This blueprint concentrates on the way how digital innovations can enhance the healthcare field by providing more targeted, personalized, effective and efficient care. Moreover, reducing errors and the length of the hospital stay are important elements. As one of the fundaments in the Blueprint mentions, by quantifying and qualifying outcomes not only the profitability of innovative digital concepts can be expressed but also the developments related to care delivery. Monitoring and evaluating disruptive innovation plays a crucial role as it is part of the (potential) implementation of a new solution.

In light of this, Panaxea has developed the MAFEIP tool in cooperation with the European Commissions’ (EC) Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC IPTS). This tool focuses on the Monitoring and Assessment Framework on Active and Healthy Ageing for the European Innovation Partnership. The main goal of this partnership is to increase two healthy life years to the life span of European elderly by the year 2020. Specifically, it monitors and evaluates the impact of health and economic outcomes of a large variety of social and technological innovations as part of the active and healthy aging program.

The reason why this type of information is important is because it provides its users an early assessment of the chances that interventions in the current design will achieve the anticipated impact. Early assessments play an important role in field with fast technological developments e.g. eHealth, personalised medicine, and technology supported integrated care as it can help to optimize the innovation process. Furthermore, by identifying the drivers of the intervention’s effectiveness or efficiency, the outcomes can support further design, development or evaluation of the intervention. These outcomes can be extremely valuable to developers, investors and implementers of innovation. Therefore, the use of the MAFEIP tool is being supported by the EC through the channels provided by the EIP on AHA.

For an aging country like the Netherlands with limited financial resources and a strong health technological focus, the MAFEIP tool is not only a great support for performing an early assessment of innovations’ cost-effectiveness at various stages of the development process but also in the decision-making process. In supporting those interested in applying the MAFEIP tool as part of their decision making process, we offer them a stepwise support service. In short this includes:

• to structure the decision problem and map the health economic value pathways;
• to identify and articulate the expected health gains and economic impact of the activities, relative to usual care or other relevant comparators;
• to identify the parameters needed to quantify the expected cost-effectiveness;
• to analyse existing data and complement with new data, where necessary;
• to determine the sensitivity analysis to be carried out;
• to prepare the final data set for analysis using the MAFEIP tool;
• to help interpret the results from the analysis.