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Health and medical apps are growing at an incredible pace in the US. But what about Europe? Are there equally creative ideas going on across the pond? Fortunately, there are plenty of examples.

One hot spot is Nijmegen, Netherlands at the Radboud  Reshape and  Innovation Center at UMC St.  Radboud University Medical Center. Under the leadership of Lucien Engelen, the center has already produced 4 apps. First is AEDS4.US which enables the user to find the nearest defibrillator devices at a moment’s notice using this iPhone/Android app which integrates maps and location services. It has over 50,000 downloads but is still most heavily used in the Netherlands. Anyone with a smartphone can add AEDs to the app. Second is AYA4 – community for young cancer patients. Third is an iPad app to enable communication between patients, families and the healthcare team. Fourth is Hospital Visitor Planning to coordinate visitors coming the hospital. The newest app is REshape HealthTalk which enables translation during healthcare visits for non-native speakers. The ReShape Center also sponsors TEDxMaastricht which will take place April 2, 2012.

In Belgium, there is a growing number of  startups and a startup incubator specifically for health. HealthStartUp “organises events in Europe that bring together entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, policy makers and investors.” Like many of us, HealthStartUp seeks to empower patients and  improve the quality, efficiency and accessibility of healthcare. Check out their interview with miMedication which not only describes their product but also discusses being an entrepreneur.   miMedication is a niche PHR product in English developed by Mitchell Silva, who is an epatient in his own right.

From Spain, there is a new app called Doctoralia, a service to find, rate and contact medical services in 14 countries. In addition to the website search by country there is an iPhone app in the App Store. The combination of international search, rating and actual scheduling information makes the service unique.

Also from Spain we have  Medical Exchange Medting which includes collaboration platforms and medical viewers. It is a comprehensive tool set which enables elearning, social networking for physicians and medical students.  The Medting Media Manager enables the management of medical images including DICOM and pathology standards. Medviewer is a lightweight version of the image viewer which can be imbedded into websites and web applications for continuing medical education, etc. The products can be used for free and the primary business model is licensing for enterprise use for which they also provide customization and services. While not yet a mobile app, it will display on the iPad.

From Hungary there is Webicina founded by Bertalan Mesko, MD, is a curated social media resource tool in multiple languages. The solution has two paths: one for the medical professional which is cataloged by medical specialties from anesthesia to transplantation. The path for the “Empowered Patient” goes to specific diagnoses from pregnancy to psoriasis.This is also available as an mobile app in the iPhone Store and Android version. Webicina also has a tool called PeRSSonalized Medicine with an emphasis on curated RSS feeds for medical resources including major medical journals, blog and news. It enables the busy health professional to scan multiple articles for relevance  to their practice at a glace and drill down on topics of interest. Again, this too is in multiple languages and curated by real people, not algorithms. Dr. Mesko who goes by @Berci on Twitter is a popular speaker internationally and continues his medical research while maintaining this service. Webicina has recently partnered with Basil Strategies of Paris, France and sponsor of the Doctors 2.0 Conference there.

There are a growing number of annual conferences on Web 2.0 in healthcare in Europe.

  • TEDxMaastricht in the Netherlands in April is in the true TED tradition with fast paced presentations but a focus on innovation in health care. The program includes speakers from throughout Europe but also the US. The program includes patients and their dynamic stories of survival as well medical professionals focused on patient-centered care.
  • Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris in May billed as “an international healthcare social media and web 2.0 conference,” is sponsored  by Basil Strategies which is now in partnership with Webicina. The conference has a strong emphasis on mobile apps as well as social media and patient and professional communities. A contest for startups rounds out the program. Check out the videos from last year.
  • Salud 2.0 meets in Bilbao, Spain in July.    It includes international and Spanish presenters on topics from Health 2.0 administration and clinical practice. Last year’s presentations are online through SlideShare.  Preliminary information on this year’s program is available.
  • Last year was also the first Health 2.0 Europe in Berlin sponsored by the US Health 2.0 conference group of Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya. It included their usual format of individual speakers on the latest apps and interviews with entrepreneurs and quick paced demos.

Bottom line, Europe is alive with activity – building apps, experimenting with social media in healthcare and a growing number of conferences to show it off. This small sampling should give you a taste of some exciting developments worth keeping tabs on.

photo credit: Christos Georghiou/Shutterstock