Development of primary care ICT ecosystem at national level by co-creating national guidelines and specifications for primary care software solutions
VHC was developed as a part of the Public Health Focused Model Programme for Organizing Primary Care Services Backed by a Virtual Care Service Centre (2012-2017) implemented by National Health Care Service (ÁEEK) and 8 partners (4 universities, 2 associations of care providers and 2 public bodies).
The whole Programme developed new procedures manuals for the cooperation among general practitioners’ clusters (GPCs). The GPCs were based on the cooperation of general practitioners, public health coordinators, health professionals, health mediators and GPC coordinators. This cooperation among the staff and management functions was a unique service innovation serving the shift from hospital care to primary care. GPCs – as a good practise for public driven innovation - delivered prevention, care and treatment services that were new at local care and home care. There were no existing, tested and proved workflow, business process management (BPM) or ICT solution available for the new scheme of the “Public Health Focused Model Programme for Organizing Primary Care Services”.
VHC was the solution to this challenge by giving support for service cluster cooperation among GPCs and their members. Patients, professionals, public bodies (Health Insurance Fund Management; National Primary Care Institute) and universities were involved to define their unmet needs and requirements for the specification. They took part in co-creation and testing of the workflow, BPM and the ICT development.

Resources needed

Development was co-financed by the Swiss Contribution Fund and the Hungarian Government.
The budget for the whole Model Programme was CHF 15.3 M (€ 13.45 M) . VHC’s budget was CHF 2.2 M (€ 2.50 M).
A project employed 2 full-time and 5-10 part-time experts, and subcontracted 5 vendor groups of SMEs

Evidence of success

Physicians and other heath professionals, health managers, ITC specialists, researchers and patients were involved in the development to take medical, user, scientific and information technology aspects into consideration in every development phase and create user-friendly and efficient application. VHC assisted to screen and evaluate health status of 40000 people in rural regions.
The new way of cooperation between general practitioners and other professionals was welcome by all participants.

Difficulties encountered

Varying new and unmet needs may occur to open new markets for developing smart tools, next generation of devices, software and applications by utilizing the free access provided by VHC if the public driven service innovation were disseminated and replicated successfully.

Potential for learning or transfer

Good Practice of government initiative leading innovation in public health, prevention and patient adherence/empowerment by combining developments of methodology and IT solutions/applications. Cooperation among stakeholders was also well prepared and managed. Key stakeholders, as a good practice for quadruple helix cooperation, were involved in the development. Research was involved in methodology development and delivering evidence based questionnaires. Patient and care providers took part in specification and testing phases.
VHC provides new possibility for the making and maintaining or improving connection and cooperation among patients, other clients and individual or organizational healthcare providers.
After connecting to the national e-health system VHC can offer new market opportunities to vendors of innovative ICT solutions and smart devices and services, e.g. those interested in innovation and delivery of home care products and solutions.

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Main institution
National Healthcare Service Center (ÁEEK)
Észak-Alföld, Hungary (Magyarország)
Start Date
July 2012
End Date
June 2017


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