Pooling resources for scar patients with the help of DigitalHealthEurope twinning ScarPath

ScarPath is a digital tool for easy data collection to advance research, disease prevention and personalised health and care for scar patients. ScarPath allows researchers and other professionals to pool resources (data, expertise, computing processing and storage capacities) across the EU on objective scar outcome measures, scar patient reported outcome measures and scar treatment.

The twinning partners Oscare from Belgium (originator) and Centre de Rééducation Motrice du Dr. STER from France (adopter) explored the possibility of creating a concrete solution for standardised data collection in scar research and scar management. The partners aimed to discuss how ScarPath can be transferred to the adopting region in France. The capacity needed was built during the DigitalHealthEurope twinning.

The main twinning goal of the project was to present the possibilities of ScarPath to the adopter and to add the considerations and needs of the twinning partner in order to adopt ScarPath in future research. The objectives were the following:

  1. To officially engage all involved parties by signing a Memorandum of Understanding describing the framework of the collaboration, the intentions and attempted results.
  2. To fully demonstrate (on site, face to face) the research possibilities of ScarPath to the twinning adopter.
  3. To discuss the expected outcomes, adoption and feasibility of the transfer of this project.
  4. To include the twinning adopter in the development process of ScarPath by considering their needs and necessary technical adaptations.

ScarPath was demonstrated to the adopters’ team and a separate test account with login details was provided, so that the adopters were able to use the software themselves. All changes necessary to adjust ScarPath to the adopters’ needs were recorded. The adopters started testing ScarPath among care givers before involving patients. They were trained by the originators via video conference.

The adopters also simulated a series of assessments to evaluate the data extraction and visual representation of the results. The adopters were very positive about these options which was also their main reason to participate in this project.

The implementation of the digital care pathway towards patients made clear that digital literacy is still an important issue in the transfer of digital health technologies. Older patients had more difficulties with the automatic reminders and the interaction with the virtual assistant, while younger patients preferred this method above paper questionnaires.

All digital content such as informed consent form, intake forms, questionnaires and messages were translated into French. This makes ScarPath ready for adoption in French-speaking countries. To optimise implementation, ScarPath needs to be adjusted with regard to GDPR regulations, software conformity, removing or adding specific assessment tools, graphical representation of results and data output format.

Centre STER will continue to test ScarPath in their research and daily work and help to improve the fit of this tool into the specific situation in France. In 2021, Centre STER will decide whether they will acquire ScarPath and collaborate with Oscare to implement more scientific research around scar treatments. If they decide to acquire ScarPath, Centre STER will help to promote ScarPath in the rest of France.

More information about the ScarPath twinning can be found here.