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Smart patients - Holistic Empowerment of Citizens to Become Experts in Their Own Health

Name of the Project: Smart patients - Holistic Empowerment of Citizens to Become Experts in Their Own Health

Project Number: 2016-1-HR01-KA204-022148


Type of Project: Erasmus +, Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. Strategic Partnerships for adult education

Project Lifetime: 1st of September 2016 until 31st of August 2018 


P1 - MEDRI - Sveuciliste U Rijeci, Medicinski Fakultet, (Croatia);
P2 - WIN - Wissenschaftsinitiative Niederosterreich (Austria);
P3 - INTEGRA - INSTITUT, Institut za razvoj clovekovih potentialov (Slovenia);
P4 - QUALED - obcianske zdruzenie pre kvalifikaciu a vdelavanje  (Slovakia);
P5 - Galway – National University of Ireland (Ireland);
P6 - Was hab ich - gemeinnutzige GmbH (Germany);
P7 – P.PORTO, Instituto Politécnico do Porto (Portugal);
P8 - GUNET - Akadimaiko Diadiktyo (Greece).

Flyer PT

Flyer EN

Comunicado Smart Patient 


Newsletter 1 PT

Newsletter 2 PT

Newsletter 3 PT

Press releases:

Project Summary:

One of the EU Health Strategy’s main objectives is “fostering good health in an ageing Europe”. Health promotion is particularly important in the context of an ageing population resulting from a combination of longer life expectancies and low birth rates.

Projections show that the proportion of people over 65 in Europe will increase from 17% (2010) to almost 30% by 2060.

A concrete theme identified in the EU Health Strategy includes “empowering citizens – putting patients at the heart of the system and encouraging them to be involved in managing their own healthcare needs”. Preventive care should therefore not be left alone to doctors and hospitals, also the individual must be empowered and become a “smart patient”.

A “smart patient” is someone who takes an active role in his or her health; whereby we follow the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1948: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

In the past, everything was simple: Here was the demi-god in white with his knowledge and experience who wants only the best for the patient, and there was the patient who accepts gratefully all findings and decisions of the doctor in good faith and without resistance, without criticism and as clueless consumer of health services.

Today, more and more patients want to know what exactly is done with them, among which different options for their treatment they can choose, and whether the proposed treatment is most promising. Smart patients are keen to contribute to coping with illness. They understand their own contribution to recovery as a necessary complement, rather than competition with the achievements of medicine. They also want to lead a life that prevents them becoming a patient.

They understand that health cannot be maintained only by medical intervention, but depends also on lifestyle as well as on social and environmental factors.

To become a smart patient has to be learned. The corresponding educational process on which our project is based is empowerment. To this end, it requires a holistic approach that includes, as the WHO definition states, aspects not only from medicine, but also from sociology and psychology. The partnership comprises an therefore an interdisciplinary team of medical, social and adult education experts, who will, in a synergistic process, meet the requirements of the target group, i.e. the future smart patients, at their level.

The objectives of this project are:

- to empower citizens to become expert patients and to develop self-confidence and patients competence in interaction with medical experts;
- to develop practice oriented support that empowers them preventing disease and detecting health issues at an early stage that are essential to living a healthy life;
- understand their own contribution to recovery as a necessary complement, rather than compete with the achievements of medicine;
- to develop internet and mobile application based tools with recommendations, tips and guidelines for preventive care, healthy nutrition and food, wellbeing (e.g. stress management), lifestyle (e.g. how to care for family members with chronic diseases);
- to provide a low level threshold glossary (translation resp. explanation of medical terms for readers with lower educational levels);
- to include refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have no or only little command of the host country’s language, and would not understand the information given to them by doctors, through translations of the materials also into Arabic and Pashtun.

The partnership comprises a multi-disciplinary team of health organizations, education and pedagogic expert partners as well as ICT and multimedia specialists where only the combined efforts will make it possible to achieve the goals. The European dimension of the project is achieved by the fact that the partnership spans from North-West (Ireland) via South-West (Portugal) via Central Europa to the East (Greece). In a world of globalization, the project will therefore develop transnational best practice approaches and transfer them into localized solutions in the eight European states of the partnership and beyond.


Coordination of the project in ESS / Researchers involved:

Prof.ª Regina Silva
Prof.ª Cristina Melo
Prof. Ângelo Jesus
Prof. Brígida Patrício
Prof. Sílvia Fernandes

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