Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the EU, affecting around 63 million people. The prevalence of diabetes has also risen dramatically: the number of adults in Europe with this condition has almost doubled over the past decade to 32.3 million in 2019. These chronic diseases pose a significant threat to individual health and quality of life, while also overburdening healthcare systems and hampering social and economic development.
JACARDI is a collaboration between 21 European countries, ensuring diversity in terms of cultural backgrounds, public health priorities and healthcare systems. The project plans to implement 142 pilots that will reach and improve the care of millions of people in Europe. The wide geographical coverage and extensive pilot implementations are expected to provide a wealth of data for mutual learning and the identification of successful practices.
Sciensano coordinates Belgium’s participation in JACARDI. In collaboration with the Diabetes Liga, KU Leuven and Universiteit Antwerpen, we carry out work over the next 4 years to improve use of qualitative data, screening, integrated care pathways and digital tools for self-management for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Project relevance and objectives
The JACARDI project aligns with the objectives of the European Union Health Programme (EU4H) by focusing on the reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at both individual and societal levels. It seeks to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes mellitus (DM) while increasing awareness of related risks and the acceptance of innovative lifestyle interventions.
The project’s relevance extends to addressing the diverse needs of the people in Europe, harmonizing health systems, and improving healthcare access and quality. JACARDI’s comprehensive approach aims to create a more equitable and sustainable healthcare system across Europe.
Key focus areas for improving cardiovascular and diabetes care
JACARDI identifies several key areas that require attention and improvement to effectively combat CVD and DM. These include:
- Integrative Approach: the project emphasises a whole-system and life course perspective. It acknowledges the role of social factors as well as the commercial determinants of health and seeks to reduce health inequities across Europe.
- Health Literacy and Awareness: Recognising the importance of health literacy, JACARDI aims to increase awareness of CVD and DM risks among populations. This includes tailoring health information to diverse cultural and social contexts.
- Availability and Quality of Data: The project highlights the need for standardised and high-quality data to accurately monitor risk factors and disease prevalence. This data is essential for evidence-based health policy and improving healthcare quality.
- High-Risk Population Identification: Identifying individuals at risk of developing CVD and DM is critical for effective prevention and management. JACARDI seeks to implement pilots that target this high-risk population.
- Patient Care and Service Pathways: Barriers that hinder the implementation of best practices in patient care and service pathways will be addressed. The goal is to create an integrated and person-centered approach to care.
- Patients’ Self-Management: Recognising the importance of patients’ self-management, JACARDI will support self-management programs, especially those focusing on behavioural change and self-empowerment.
- Labour Participation: The project aims to help individuals with NCDs, particularly those of working age, access the labour market and maintain employment. This will contribute to greater societal inclusion.
Standardisation and Scalability
A key feature of JACARDI is the adoption of a common methodology for pilot implementation. This approach aims to harmonise procedures and tools across various fields, from health literacy to patient care pathways. It will benefit the scalability of interventions targeting NCDs, standardizing the methodological approach of EU healthcare systems.
Sustainability for a Healthier Europe
Sustainability is a core element of the JACARDI project. Implementing partners will receive training and guidance on making their pilots sustainable. The goal is to ensure that the benefits of JACARDI extend beyond the project’s duration, ultimately contributing to a healthier Europe.
The role of Sciensano in JACARDI
Sciensano coordinates the Belgian participation to the JACARDI project. To accomplish the objective of the project, Sciensano works in close collaboration with the Diabetes Liga, KU Leuven and Universiteit Antwerpen.
Sciensano also plays an active role in the work package on data availability and data quality. We investigate the possibility to enrich data on diabetes care in Belgium by combining several databases. This enriched data is essential to improve the quality of diabetes care and provide evidence for health policy decisions.
To create this Diabetes Data Cell, we use the following data from the, already existing, databases mentioned below:
- Database of IQED and IQECAD: identification number of the Belgian social security system (NISS, pseudonymised), demographical data (sex, date of birth, region and date of death), date of onset diabetes, date of onset of treatment, anthropometric data, lab results, treatment, results of care and complications.
- Database of INTEGO: identification number of the Belgian social security system (NISS, pseudonymised), demographical data (sex, date of birth, region and date of death), date of onset of treatment, anthropometric data, lab results, treatment, results of care and complications.
- Database of the Intermutualistic Agency (IMA): identification number of the Belgian social security system (NISS, pseudonymised), data on healthcare use and reimbursement status of the Belgian citizens selected in the clinical databases IQED, IQECAD and INTEGO.
View a visualisation of the Diabetes data cell project (to be added soon).
Read the privacy statement of the Diabetes data cell project (to be added soon).