DUBLIN, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- eHealth Week Conference-- IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that the Region of Southern Denmark (RSD) is launching a new program to provide comprehensive insight to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of care for patients with chronic illness. The goal of the program is to facilitate real-time communication among patients, physicians, pharmacists, mental health professionals and specialists so all parties have insight into patient care plans. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO ) For patients with chronic illness, Denmark already has a strategy in place to help ensure early detection, self-care and support for patients. However, these patients are often seen by many different professionals within the healthcare, social services and city ecosystem. The new program using IBM's Shared Care Platform will seek to help standardize procedures, efficiently analyze data across the continuum of care and social services, and create a holistic view of each patient to improve the level of care they receive both in the hospital, after discharge, and as they continue in everyday life. "The project creates a needed overview of the continuity of patient care. With Big Data analytics capabilities, our strategy with the program is to improve communications and integrated care among health, social services and other providers where the focus is on the best patient care possible," said Maria Hardt-Madsen, project manager, Southern Denmark Health Innovation. Enhancing the quality of life for chronically ill patients About 1.8 million Danes suffer from a chronic illness and the number is expected to rise by 400,000 patients in 2016. Today, 80 percent of all expenses in the Danish healthcare system relate to chronic illness, and estimates indicate that Denmark has a productivity loss of three to five billion Danish kroner due to absences related to chronic illness. Among RSD's population of about 1.2 million, 22 percent of the citizens suffer from a chronic illness. This number includes about 70,000 heart disease patients. These patients are now an important part of the new program involving two hospitals, three municipalities, several medical practices, the regional healthcare authorities and IBM. The program will initially focus on heart disease patients and will later include patients with other conditions such as type II diabetes and pulmonary conditions.