9 June 2021 - Deborah Wilkes
Self-care has played a crucial role in addressing health system and societal challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Association of the European Self-Care Industry (AESGP), which is calling for continued efforts to encourage people to “think of self-care as their first step in healthcare”.
During the pandemic, says the AESGP, it was more evident that self-care “highly contributes to preventing the spread of infections and helps to ensure healthcare resources are available for those most in need”.
The AESGP points out that online resources were used even more in 2020 and telemedicine proved to be a viable alternative to regular face-to-face appointments with healthcare professionals.
The industry association maintains that providing people with trusted information and professional support, including online, can empower them to take a more active role in their healthcare.
“As well as benefiting individuals,” says the AESGP, “this has the potential to reduce the burden on healthcare services and save on medical expenses.”
In an AESGP Evidence Summary called ‘Self-care in times of pandemic and beyond: looking back after a year’, the AESGP points out that “health literacy plays a crucial role in encouraging responsible choices about our health”.
“It has been shown that self-care increases with the level of education,” states the AESGP. “Therefore, it is important to strive for a life-long learning approach towards the health of the population, starting at high school level while emphasising the role of the pharmacist in assisting us in managing our health.”
The AESGP notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the progress of healthcare digitalisation, and provided the motivation and reasoning to make us further explore how various technologies can be used in healthcare.
“We are looking at a future where more and more consultations will happen online,” says the AESGP, “and where we will be offering more digital services around self-care products to further empower people, and better understand their use of self-care products and their needs.”
The AESGP hopes that the European regulatory framework will increasingly recognise the powerful role self-care can play in healthcare. “We urge that they will adapt and recognise the value of digital innovation as provided by self-care product manufacturers,” says the AESGP.
According to the AESGP, implementation of electronic product information to complement paper leaflets would be an important development.