• Providing a guiding vision covering the aspects that need to be taken into account in digital non-face-to-face care initiatives.
  • Providing recommendations for use and specific support content for professionals.

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The strategy

Latitud is the reference model for implementation digital solutions in the field of non face-to-face health care. It covers aspects related to: 

  • General objectives to be achieved
  • Main characteristics involved in adapting care processes
  • Legal areas
  • Technological areas
  • Interoperability and evaluation areas

It is aimed at ensuring the equity, quality and sustainability of health services, both from the perspective of citizens and the health system. In order to achieve these objectives, the pillars of the model are the centrality of the person and intensive data use. It applies these by configuring of dynamic care pathways. It takes into consideration both health aspects, as well as the person’s conditioning factors (social, economic, abilities, environment, etc.) and the available care resources to define care pathways suited to their needs that allow face-to-face and non-face-to-face care to be combined.

The model covers all areas of health intervention in the care value chain: health promotion and prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of disease

The non-face-to-face care strategy aims to define a common framework for the implementation of innovative digital tools in the health sector with the following main objectives:

Digital health in Catalonia and the world: state of the art

The rapid development of technologies, together with more available and lower cost connectivity services, has made it possible to evolve the design of care systems and models. They are now increasingly adapted to the needs of the person and their personal, clinical and social conditions.

In this context, all advanced economies are incorporating non-face-to-face care strategies and services into health care delivery models. In 2018, the telemedicine and eHealth market was valued at $38.3 billion with estimated annual growth rate of 19.2%. Global turnover of more than $130 billion is expected by 2025 according to the Telemedicine Market Share Report | Global 2019-2025 Industry Data.

In Catalonia, the foundations for implementing digital health began to be laid with an initial definition of the Non-Face-to-Face Care Model (2013-2016). Initiatives related to non-face-to-face care at the systemic level were later included in the Health Plan (2016-2020) and the Information Systems Master Plan of the Department of Health.

At the level of territorial implementation, providers in Catalonia’s comprehensive health system for public use (SISCAT) have promoted specific digital solutions with different levels of deployment. Three initiatives stand out for their long history and territorial scalability:

  • eConsulta stands out for being a project promoted by the health system itself. It is deployed in the vast majority of primary care centres and can be extended to specialised care.
  • Teleictus, the remote stroke diagnosis initiative, stands out for creating the ability for SISCAT providers to coordinate with one another.
  • Teledermatology stands out for the use of existing tools and a reduction in travel by the population.

At the international level, multilateral organisations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission present recommendations in their strategic plans to guide health systems in responding to the sector’s challenges. For example, the WHO urges its members to establish a set of digital health practices. The presentation of these practices recognises technologies’ potential to support health care systems in achieving sustainability goals, the possibilities they offer to bring about changes in care models, and the need to ensure that truly are an improvement.

As set out in “Comparative analysis of non-face-to-face care models in the field of health”, most of the countries analysed are producing health strategies closely focused on digitisation and new models of relating the public in the form of digital health plans.

Recommendations for the use of non-face-to-face care channels

In order to determine the degree of deployment of the non-face-to-face care model in its hospitals, the Health Region of Central Catalonia has carried out an evaluation study in four centres:

Non-face-to-face care channels must allow for personalised care adapted to the person’s context and the health resources available. To aid in the use of these channels, a set of recommendations in various areas aimed at different profiles has been drawn up with the care area and the information systems area of the Catalan Health Service. This is summarised in a set of specific files:


Content for health care professionals

  • Summary of the use of non-face-to-face care channels and main aspects to take into account.
  • Description of the telecare channels, eConsulta and videoConsulta.
  • Main legal aspects for compliance with data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Good practices for correct performance of non-face-to-face visits.

Content for centre management

  • Organisational recommendations: aspects related to the necessary activities at centres for the use of non-face-to-face channels.
  • Main legal aspects for compliance with data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Checklist: summary of aspects to consider when using non-face-to-face care channels.
  • Good practices for correct performance of non-face-to-face visits.

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