From wound care and ostomy care to home dialysis and telemonitoring, medical technologies are changing how and where services are provided. By facilitating a shift away from traditional hospital care, we are helping to improve outcomes for patients and add value to the health system.
What is community care?
Community care is generally seen as treatment and care outside of an acute care setting, such as a hospital. It typically includes primary care (provided by general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals), out-patient clinics, homecare, nursing homes, hospices, convalescent centres, ambulatory care (such as intravenous chemotherapy), and providers of medical technologies such as pharmacies, medical device shops, appliance contractors, and homecare companies.
For patients, including the elderly and disabled, accessing services locally is more convenient than travelling to hospitals for outpatient appointments or being admitted to hospital. Telemedicine allows people to preserve their independence while wireless technologies securely share health data with their healthcare team.
Community care in Europe
Community care can benefit patients, their families, doctors and hospitals. Check out country profiles (Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom) and best practices (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom) to better understand the system in some European countries.
MedTech Europe ‘s Community Care group calls for better patient outcomes and more attention to the community setting.
Europe’s ageing population means that more people will require care. Now, more than ever, it is essential to find ways to make the most efficient use of healthcare resources.
Technology can help. Hospitalisation is unavoidable for people with acute illnesses or in need of surgery. Many chronic conditions, however, can be managed just as well in the community.
Inpatient hospital care is expensive. Research shows that many older people are admitted to hospital inappropriately and stay longer than necessary. As institutional care can cost 10 times as much as home care, delivering care in the community is preferable where appropriate.
The medical technology industry continues to develop products that enable people to better manage their disease or health condition themselves and minimise their use of hospital care. This can be empowering for patients, providing them with flexibility and choice.
The medical technology sector is committed to playing its part in the collective effort required to restructure our health services. By facilitating community care, the industry provides smarter alternatives to the traditional model of locking up resources in bricks and mortar.
Many of these technologies are new. They have the potential to change patient care, yet health systems tend to evolve slowly. Realising their full benefits will mean investing in the infrastructure that will deliver effective community care, including public awareness. This will provide a further step towards sustainable, cost-effective healthcare systems.
Breaking down silo budgeting structures for the treatment of people with chronic conditions can help ensure patients receive consistent, high-quality care across all care settings. Payers need to move towards paying for an ‘episode of care’ rather than paying based on the site of care.
Community care is a diverse sector
To find out more about wound care, home dialysis and ostomy, click on the links below.
Wound care has advanced significantly thanks to medical technologies. Good wound management can help to accelerate healing, reduce the impact on patients and break the cycle of repeat hospitalisation. It can often be provided in a community setting, including in patients’ own homes.Download
Home dialysis offers carefully selected patients the freedom to pursue work, study and family life, while undergoing life-preserving treatment for chronic kidney disease.
Ostomy products can be personalised to fit individual patients and their body types. They help to reduce the risk of complications and reduce the need for hospital care by allowing services to be provided elsewhere, like at home. It provides a better quality-of-life and allows patients to live their lives normally and in dignity.Download