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  • Life Sciences & Health
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PBM important tool to keep people healthy

The healthcare industry is under pressure. Too expensive, too many patients, too few healthcare professionals. To avoid a bigger crisis, we can only turn on one important switch: prevention. In other words, how do we ensure that people become and stay healthier? A simple question with no easy answer. NOM seeks those answers on November 14 during the Prevention in Healthcare Roundtable. Guests with different perspectives will discuss solutions to drive the much-needed transition.

Digital applications are essential for advancing healthcare. And ALSO for advancing health. This is not news, but it is a fact that needs a strong organization. Cooperation is needed, learning from each other, finding each other, pursuing the same goal. For that reason, PGO-Netwerk Noord exists. In it, more than ninety parties work together. From healthcare providers to SMEs, from innovative startups to health insurers, from patient representatives to the NOM. All with the same, double goal: improving care and health on the one hand and promoting economic activity on the other by developing PBMC services and products.

A Personal Health Environment (PBM) is an app or website where you can collect more and more data about your health. This gives control to people and can make care more efficient. An example? The Groningen company MonitAir makes technology that monitors COPD patients and prevents lung attacks. ,,In PGO-Netwerk Noord, MoniTair works with chain care Friesland, among others, so that the technology can also be used by COPD patients themselves. This ensures the shifting of care,'' says Michel Evers. He is program manager of PGO Network North on behalf of GERRIT from Drachten, a specialist in digital innovations in healthcare.

It's just one of many projects underway. These include lifestyle interventions, fall prevention, VR glasses for remote care, unlocking birth care data and much more. All in the interest of health, all using the digital capabilities of PBMs. Evers: ,,Some of the projects are focused on care, some on health, in other words on prevention. We think they are all important.''

In time, those projects will be the visible results. Behind the scenes, what matters most is that all parties know how to find each other, that an ecosystem is built. That is certainly essential when it comes to prevention, Evers reflects. ,,The tricky thing about prevention is always: who invests in it, what is the balance of benefits and costs? Such a calculation is easier to make with medication. This is what it costs, that is what it delivers. Perhaps it's time to start thinking of prevention measures as medicines as well. The result is similar: you get less sick.''

Positive health is one such term that often comes up when talking about prevention measures. That's about working on people's ability to cope with life's physical, social and mental challenges. ''This is very important. It's not about a pill to solve all problems. You have to look in different domains how to work on people's health. The PBM can play an important role in this. It collects information from all angles and gives people targeted advice and help.''
These kinds of challenges are fully addressed within PGO-netwerk Noord, which was established in October 2020. Evers: ,,We are gaining prominence, the ideas come to us, regularly through the NOM. Then it's up to us to link education, care and business and to help think about the approach. We want to keep expanding the potential of PBM as an instrument for staying healthy.''