Empowering health transformation: Highlights from the SMILE AAL workshop

On April 11th, 2024, the Greater Copenhagen Office in Brussels played host to healthcare professionals and stakeholders from across Europe who gathered for the SMILE AAL workshop. The goal was to showcase innovative tools designed to help older adults manage their health, bridging the gap between digital health knowledge and practical application.

The workshop aimed to introduce and discuss frameworks from the Horizon 2020 EU project ‘SMILE’ (Smart Inclusive Living Environments). This project focuses on older adults living with frailty or impairments, presenting models like the Epital Care Model (ECM) and the Readiness and Enablement Index for Health Technology (READHY). These tools are crucial in planning healthcare services and ensuring digital transformations do not exclude those with low technology readiness.


Moderated by Lars Kayser, Ph.D., MD, and Emilie Kauffeldt Wegener, MA, MSc, from the University of Copenhagen, the workshop kicked off with a welcome address by Terje Peetso, Chief Medical Innovation Officer at the North Estonia Medical Centre. The event saw active participation from seven key representatives from various European organisations working specifically in this sector.

Participants engaged in two main activities:

1. Exploring the Epital Care Model (ECM):

  • Participants divided into groups to discuss how ECM can aid in local and regional healthcare planning, emphasising cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • Group 1 focused on rural areas with limited GP access, such as southern France. They explored how interconnected systems could enable stakeholders like relatives and home nurses to provide support when GPs are unavailable. They proposed a phased approach: technical support systems, assistance from technology helpers, remote healthcare professional interventions, and eventual hospital admission if needed.
  • Group 2 examined diabetes care, identifying stakeholders like GPs, specialists, dietitians, and patient organisations. They emphasised the need for a communication tool that allows stakeholders to share information and engage with patients, alongside IoT solutions for monitoring health metrics.

2. Utilising READHY:

  • Participants discussed stratifying users to reduce inequity in digital health transformations. The aim was to ensure that technology readiness does not become a barrier to accessing healthcare services.


The workshop concluded with a plenary session where groups presented their findings, followed by a lively discussion. Key takeaways from this session included:

  • The feasibility and potential of the ECM and READHY frameworks in various healthcare settings.
  • The creation of potential ambassadors in multiple countries to promote digital health services.
  • An increased understanding of how these tools can help engage and support older adults, ensuring that digital transformations in healthcare are inclusive and equitable.


The SMILE AAL workshop highlighted the critical role of innovative health technologies in transforming healthcare delivery for older adults. By fostering cross-sectoral collaboration and utilising tools like ECM and READHY, we can pave the way for a more inclusive, technology-driven healthcare future.

The participants’ enthusiasm and proactive engagement are promising signs of the positive impact these frameworks can have across Europe and potential ambassadors in more than four countries and organisations will contribute to promoting them following these discussions.

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