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Wednesday November 26th, 2014

Hospital Clínic and the BBVA Foundation announce the launch of a health portal providing reliable information in Spanish, which will also be brought within the care process

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona will put its expertise at citizens’ fingertips through a new health portal in collaboration with the BBVA Foundation. This project is the latest initiative to emerge from the close relationship maintained by the two organizations for over ten years.

The BBVA Foundation and Hospital Clínic de Barcelona have concluded an agreement to implement the portal, which will set a new standard for health information in Spanish and serve both to empower patients and contribute new resources to health professionals’ therapeutic arsenal.

Although almost half of all users have at some point searched the internet for health purposes, most are unsure about the reliability of what they find. For this reason, 70% of Spanish patients say they would like their doctor to “prescribe” a sound source of health information online. The aim of the Hospital Clínic-Fundación BBVA health portal is to “provide citizens with reliable, validated health information, endorsed by professionals, and create IT tools supporting interaction with users, patients and professionals,” explained Dr. Josep Maria Piqué, CEO at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

The idea is to integrate the portal within the care process, so professionals can prescribe information to their patients, empowering them to understand their condition better and, by this means, improving treatment compliance and health outcomes”, he added.

The President of the BBVA Foundation, Francisco González, singled out the portal’s value-added compared to the maze of information available online: “The most effective formula to exploit the immense potential of the digital space while minimizing its side effects is to bring together a professional community in possession of validated knowledge with digital tools and the internet space”. Moreover: “A health portal established, maintained and endorsed by a leading center like Hospital Clínic is the kind of novel initiative that will mark a before and after for the world’s approximately 530 million Spanish speakers”.

The project will be funded with 1.3 million euros for the next three years, including development and start-up costs.

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona has set up web committees in all its institutes, which will act as a conduit for the participation of medical teams. In the words of Dr. Josep Maria Campistol, the hospital’s Medical Director: “We know that information technologies play a key role in the relationship with users and patients. More and more people out there are seeking information on medical pathologies. And we are offering them a reliable source plus the opportunity to interact with health professionals”.

The project will not have to start from scratch, as both institutions have worked together on two initiatives which will provide the portal’s initial content: health guide El libro de la salud del Hospital Clínic de Barcelona y la Fundación BBVA and Forumclinic, a series of monographic packages on a dozen chronic complaints. El libro de la salud alone featured contributions from over 100 professionals at the center, responding to 1,500 questions on 60 diseases.

In the first stage, Hospital Clínic teams will review and update this content then reorganize it by pathology in line with the center’s own divisional/clinical structure, though users may also initiate searches by symptom, test or procedure.

Nowadays, some 30% of patients check for information online before seeing a doctor, and around half do so once the visit is over. Half of internet users report making inquiries on health-related matters, particularly diseases (40%); diet and lifestyle (16.8%); and medication (16%).

We are a flagship institution in Spain and Europe, and consider it of maximum importance to be accessible for users and patients, respond to their concerns and ensure that they are kept as well informed as possible,” affirms Dr. Campistol. “An informed patient, with access to reliable content, can take an active part in the progress and control of his or her condition. Among the advantages, patients facing less uncertainty are likelier to adopt healthy habits and comply with treatments, and are better able to cope with the psychological effects of their conditions”.

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