The SocKETs project develops six case studies – called SocKETs Labs – to exploit the potential of co-creation in enhancing the innovation process and aligning innovation to societal needs, with a specific focus on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). This blog issue is focused on the Serbian lab led by the Centre for the Promotion of Science. It intends to improve dialogue between industry, science and citizens to effectively contribute to the development of KETs-based innovation for eHealth applications within the national healthcare system in Serbia.
Due to the modern way of life, more chronic diseases appear in the old population, middle-aged and children in Serbia. The life span of chronic disease patients is increasingly shifting towards the younger age. Thus, the need for eHealth technologies for prevention, early diagnostics, therapy, and rehabilitation is constantly increasing. Though the awareness of using KETs technologies in healthcare is growing fast in Serbia, it is crucial to make more visible to stakeholder and citizens the opportunities and challenges of eHealth technologies.
As emerged by the innovation eco-system mapping report, some of the most evident barriers and opportunities to introduce KETs based innovations, include:
- Prices for some advanced eHealth products are often very high and inaccessible for most patients, which is a major ethical issue
- As technology changes, so do the behaviour of actors. There is a deficiency of citizen engagement in mutual public dialogue
- The introduction of new eHealth technologies in the national healthcare system is often a very long and slow process due to lack of financing and bureaucracy
- eHealth represents an opportunity for business development, with a potential for job creation, and economic growth
Starting from these issues, the SocKETs lab in Serbia will reflect on barriers and opportunities for the adoption of KETs in personalized treatment, monitoring, prevention and rehabilitation processes, to improve public health and the transfer of professional care in the hospitals to distance rehabilitation.
Our interviewees, specifically scientists from research and educational institutions, showed great interest in developing co-creation and dialogue initiatives with stakeholder and the public. Within our journey, scientists will share with stakeholder and citizens their approach, achievements, projects and expert point of view on the development of new technologies in healthcare and the democratization of their application.