Baltic cities tackle lifestyle related diseases

BaltCityPrevention – a three-year success story

The final conference of the Interreg project BaltCityPrevention that was planned to be in Turku (Finland) was done on 26.08.2020 as a virtual meeting.

Group picture of the project partners

More than 60 participants from ten countries followed the eHealth conference about the project results online. Among these participants have been the partners out of 14 organizations, which met on this day the last time after three years of cooperation.

The Finnish founder Nelli Såger led as moderator through the meeting and opened the afternoon with an inspiring keynote about digitalization of the healthcare system. She took the audience in the world of eHealth solutions, telemedicine and medical technology and focused on the hurdles and success factors in this sector. During this Såger gave insights in her own start-up experience, which was especially instructive for the present SMEs. Furthermore, she emphasized the relevance of prevention in health care with the metaphor of a burning house. “We should collectively shift focus from only sickness care & putting down the fires to actual health care and - using the same analogy - building houses that are more fire-safe and fire-proof.”, explained Såger. Only in this way it is possible to relieve health professionals.

After that Levke Johannsen (Institute for eHealth and Management in Healthcare of Flensburg University of Applied Sciences) and Inese Gobina (Riga Stradins University) presented the results of the project. BaltCityPrevention is an international project with partners from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Poland and Germany that aims to foster health interventions and tackles the health behaviour of adolescents in a preventive way. “Prevention measures of Public Health Authorities (PHAs) could be designed more efficient and sustainable.”, explained Levke Johannsen. “With the integration of new eHealth technologies and participative methods an innovative intervention model has been developed. With this model apps have been created that have the aim to strengthen the health behaviour of adolescents on a long-term basis. All developments were focused on a participative approach.”

In the whole process all stakeholders have been integrated – from the idea over the development of the aims to the evaluation. The platform BetterPrevention ( especially for PHAs has been built. It includes a lot of tools to design appropriate prevention programmes. Our toolbox and an eLearning course are the centre of that platform, that is available for all interested parties free of charge.

As third part of the agenda short presentations of some apps were intended. The lecturers from Finland, Latvia and Germany paid attention on the content of the apps but above all on the cooperation between SMEs and PHAs. Furthermore, they highlighted that the workshops with the user group – adolescents – reached surprising results in some cases. They showed for example that the Latvian adolescents won’t like to use a new app. That leads to the integration of the Latvian app in other messengers (like Telegram). Jan-Hendrik Stephan, founder of the Kiel company Groundkeeper, described the development process of the app “Trabbel”. In several workshops the adolescents were time and time again asked to test the features and to give feedback. In this way a solution has been found to involve the adolescents sustainably.

The meeting was complemented from Prof. Dr. Bosco Lehr (Institute for eHealth and Management in Healthcare of Flensburg University of Applied Sciences), project leader of BaltCityPrevention, with a review on the successful international cooperation in the project consortium. “All in all the projects ends with mixed feelings“, summarized Prof. Dr. Lehr. “On the one hand the meeting in person in the end was missing. But on the other hand, excellent results have been reached. All partners can be proud of those results and to present them such a big audience – in spite of the restrictions due to COVID 19.”