A new EU platform will support Active and Healthy Living in the Digital World

The "Active and Healthy Living in the Digital World" community platform is created to bring together innovators, researchers, health and care providers, industry, civil society, academia, public authorities, regions, cities, hospitals or care organisations, patients and EU citizens, committed to work on health and wellbeing promotion throughout the life course and on active and healthy ageing, with the support of digital technologies. All actors in the field are invited to register, disseminate information and best practices, share important news and events and actively engage with each other in the forum.  

Why this platform? 

Demographic change is a societal challenge and an opportunity for  more open, inclusive, solidary, healthy, smart and innovative European societies. In the past ten years, active and healthy ageing innovation and policy actions have been supported through joint efforts of the European Commission and the Member States, such as Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL), European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), Joint Programming Initiative More Years, Better Lives. The Commission has also awarded grants to hundreds of R&I projects through Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 1 - Health, Demographic change and Wellbeing, promoting the development and uptake of digital health innovations for the benefit of older adults’ health and well-being. The Commission’ Communication on enabling the Digital Transformation of Health and Cared in the Digital Single Market invited, among other things, to promote empowering people and citizens, of all age, to actively manage their health and wellbeing with the help of digital technologies.  

Currently, one of the Commission’s top six political priorities is to build a Europe fit for the digital age, allowing everyone in Europe, including the elderly and persons with disabilities, to benefit from technology. In response to the impact of demographic change on people, regions and society, Europe is embarking on a twin ecological and digital transition. In June 2020, the Commission adopted a Report on the Impact of Demographic change, acknowledging also the important role of digital technologies for the European economy, productivity, health and long-term care and public expenditure. They can empower citizens to monitor their health status, adapt their lifestyles, support independent living, prevent non-communicable diseases, allow for feedback and information exchange with health and care providers and family members remotely, as well as bring efficiencies and reduce costs for health and care providers and health systems.  

In October 2020, the Council adopted Conclusions on “Human Rights, Participation and Well-Being of Older Persons in the Era of Digitalisation” calling on Member States to promote active and healthy ageing – including by using the positive impact of digital technologies in public services, e.g. in health services – and longer working lives. The Commission  continues to support  actions aimed at the prevention of chronic diseases, health promotion and strengthening the development of long-term health care policies, with a focus on digitalisation; as well as to empower older persons to use digital technologies to better monitor their health independently, both for better prevention and person-centred treatment.  

On 27 January 2021, the Commission adopted a Green Paper on Ageing, opening a Public Consultation. It promotes a ‘life-course’ approach to ageing, stating that we start ageing the moment we are born. Providing EU citizens with adequate digital skills to monitor their health status will increase their prospects to continue their active professional life as they age. Health professionals and formal and informal carers also need adequate digital skills to reap the benefits of digitally enabled health solutions to monitor and treat their patients. It is also important to adopt housing solutions, age-friendly and smart homes to improve the health and safety of the elderly who live alone. Exchange of best practices and collaboration across EU Member States and Regions has the potential to ensure that Active and Healthy Ageing policies and actions can reach all EU citizens and that the adoption of innovation in health would enhanced. Finally, a developed market of products and services for active and healthy ageing would bring efficiencies in health and social care systems, potentially increasing their sustainability and provide job opportunities for highly skilled professionals in the innovation sector. Supporting the growing Silver Economy is therefore essential.  

The new multiannual financial framework (MFF)- Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, EU4Health, Erasmus+, New European Bauhaus, Structural and other funds will provide opportunities for the development, testing and deployment of digital technologies in support of active and healthy living and ageing new European Partnership on Transforming Health and Care Systems1. Synergies and collaboration between Digital Innovation Hubs in EU regions and Reference Sites of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing could have positive impact on adoption of Digital Health throughout the EU.  

Active and Healthy Living in the Digital World is about embracing the longevity of European societies as an opportunity for all in our increasingly digitalised/digitising world and about promoting healthy, active and good lives for all. Specific sub-groups on Wellbeing and Empowerment, Ecosystems and Networks, Silver Economy and HealthTech, Age-Friendly Environments, Digital Health Literacy, International Cooperation are encouraged to work together and discuss on specific issues related to their field and their particular community needs.