This year Interreg celebrates its thirtieth birthday, focusing on three thematic of interest for the European cohesion: youth, a greener Europe and we all have neighbours. In this context, each month, we present one of our emblematic projects related to one of these thematic.
Let’s discover TiCHron, a project that aims at improving the treatment of children with chronic diseases.
1. What is TiChron about?
The objective of TiChroN is to improve the comprehensive care of children and teenagers with chronic diseases through the design and implementation of new technologies that:
- allow the empowerment of children and teenagers regarding their own health care;
- develop within the educational areas a positive atmosphere, where the health and well-being of children and teenagers with chronic pathologies are systematically supported and promoted, and
- Improve the results in the state of health of children and teenagers with chronic diseases, minimizing the impact on their daily lives and normalizing the clinical and vital process.
For this, four tools are developed: a game, an e-learning platform, a bot and a tele-consultation system. With this, it is intended to respond to the needs of both children and teenagers with chronic diseases and their environment (parents, teachers, colleagues, health system professionals), improving the competencies in the field of health of the different agents, increasing their knowledge and awareness of self-care.
2. To what extent is transnationality essential for this project?
For this project, the collaboration of several specialist agents in different fields is essential: health, telecommunications, training and awareness,... Transnationality offers different approaches and the synergies created through it have benefits for the good development of the project. Furthermore, this type of collaboration allows a greater diffusion and promotion of the designed products.
The SUDOE region, and in particular France, Portugal and Spain, have health services with opportunities for improvement, mainly with regard to care for chronically ill children, in which a list of needs and requirements arises - both by health professionals and by patients and their environment. With its multidisciplinary consortium, the project enables the regions of the SUDOE area to be provided with optimal solutions for monitoring chronic childhood patients. In the framework of the project, numerous international collaborations are planned, which will promote the re-use of the results and the incorporation of best practices in the three countries.
3. How is the project developed?
As chronic diseases are infinite, the project focuses on three of them that stand out for their high prevalence: asthma, obesity and diabetes. The starting point is the analysis of the specific needs of children and teenagers and the rest of the participants: their family, teachers, and health professionals. With the information obtained, the three tools to be used are designed; the bot, the e-learning platform and the game. ICT tools will be ergonomic and interactive to be used by a young audience, accustomed to technologies.
Once the tools are finished, a pilot test will be carried out. The analysis of the results will allow knowing both issues related to the use of the tools (usability, training, experience, motivation, effectiveness), as well as the improvement of the measured clinical parameters.
4. What results are expected? Are they exportable to other areas of the European Union?
With the digital solutions of the TiCHron project, we want children and teenagers to be able to take better care of themselves. Likewise, our intention is that the healthcare system be more efficient and effective in addressing childhood chronicity, allowing healthcare professionals to early detect situations that deviate from what is expected in the course of the disease and act proactively. On the other hand, the introduction of these tools in the school environment seeks to normalize the situation of children and teenagers with chronic diseases, thanks to the improved knowledge of the diseases by their teachers, classmates and friends.
The solutions developed are easily exportable to other European regions, both for the diseases with which it is working, and for others that are interested in acting in the field of childhood chronicity. Similarly, we think that this ecosystem is also valid for addressing chronicity in general.
5. Why is Tichron a project that should matter to all of us?
The most relevant chronic diseases among children in the SUDOE’s area are mainly those of respiratory origin (asthma, cystic fibrosis), metabolic (diabetes), and obesity and being overweight. All of them affect a greater number of children and adolescents every day, requiring continuous medical treatment, causing changes in their lifestyle such as not being able to attend school or continue with their daily activities, and having a great impact on them and their families, who must continually adapt to the unpredictable and changing course of the disease.
One of the current weaknesses is the lack of integration of all the community actors that surround the patient. From an early age, interventions related to the promotion of healthy eating habits, physical activity or the incorporation of new technologies in early diagnosis and treatment could change the natural course of these diseases. These interventions can change the natural evolution of these diseases, reducing the risk of complications, possible sequelae and future disabilities, providing a better quality of life for children and reducing the impact of these diseases for them, their families and their social environment.
6. What does Interreg bring?
The possibility of networking by Interreg ensures that the tools are well developed and that the pilot projects that are carried out and the results obtained have a European dimension. Different partners bring different experiences and skills that enrich the results.
Health is one of the key thematic for the future of the Sudoe’s area. Discover all our projects in the field here. In addition, if you want to know more about the TiChron project, we are waiting for you on its website.