CONNECT – Moving multiple digital innovations towards connected respiratory care: addressing the over-arching challenges of whole systems implementation

CRC Chairs:
Hilary Pinnock (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
Job van Boven (University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

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The CONNECT (Moving multiple digital innovations towards connected respiratory care: Addressing the over-arching challenges of whole systems implementation) clinical research collaboration (CRC) was launched by ERS in 2023.

Digital health is an ERS priority that can offer patients tailored, seamless (self-)management support. This would include remote access to clinical advice; enable clinicians to monitor and tailor care; provide healthcare systems with data to target resources and monitor/intervene in health events. Accelerated by the pandemic, the focus of clinical research is shifting from pilot/effectiveness studies in specific clinical contexts to sustainable implementation of (cross border) digital healthcare.

However, successful implementation is complex, requiring consideration of implications for patients, professionals, and organisations, as well as an understanding of the political, regulatory, socio-economic context. Evaluation of digital initiatives should encompass assessment of all these aspects.

This CRC will focus on developing an ERS wide multidisciplinary network focused on implementing digital respiratory healthcare in order to bridge the gap between disease/location-focused digital initiatives, and sustainable, equitable, connected implementation of digital healthcare in routine clinical respiratory practice within European (and global) healthcare systems.

Specific aims

The vision of the CONNECT CRC is to enable knowledge exchange, create a repository of available respiratory technologies, promote standardised approaches to implementation research in digital healthcare, publish position paper(s) on barriers and enablers to deployment at scale, and plan research that will inform, develop and evaluate the implementation of digital respiratory healthcare.

With this purpose, CONNECT CRC aims specifically to:

  • Promote the exchange of research ideas among patients, clinicians, researchers, and technologists.
  • Enable knowledge exchange of available digital respiratory technologies by creating a searchable, open-access, user-controlled, European-wide repository of digital respiratory health technologies.
  • Agree on standardised approaches to implementation research on digital healthcare.
  • Scope and publish the infrastructure for prospective implementation research.
  • Plan, fund and conduct studies that will inform, develop and/or evaluate implementation of digital respiratory healthcare.

Operational aspects

What we aim to achieve in the CONNECT CRC

To achieve these aims, five work packages are being composed:

  • WP I: Build the CONNECT network to exchange research ideas.
  • WP II: Create a repository of respiratory healthcare technologies. Compile a searchable, open access, user-controlled, catalogue of digital respiratory health technologies within Europe and their underpinning evidence
  • WP III: Undertake a scoping review of implementation research in digital respiratory healthcare.
    Following the systematic methodology of Arksey and O’Malley, we will scope the implementation research literature to answer the question:

    • What respiratory digital health initiatives have been implemented in European countries in the last 10 years, and what are the population level outcomes, described barriers and enablers to implementation, insights relevant to the CONNECT over-arching themes?
  • WP IVa: Scope, identify barriers and enablers to large-scale deployment, and publish position papers. Scope published literature and documents, surveys and/or qualitative data from on-going research aligned with CONNECT to prepare position paper(s) on:
    • National policy, regulatory and socio-economic context for digital healthcare countries across Europe
    • Patient-related barriers, facilitators and perspectives
    • Professional-related barriers, facilitators and perspectives
    • Pathways for implementing digital respiratory healthcare
    • EU and national regulations for secondary use of datasets
  • WP IVb: Define core digital respiratory outcomes for clinical trials. Collaborate with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and discuss the potential for developing EU guidance for the use of digital respiratory outcomes in clinical trials
  • WP V : Develop applications for future funding.



The CONNECT CRC is composed of:

  • Core Committee: CRC chairs, representatives of patients, primary/secondary care, adults/children, senior/early career members, physicians, pharmacists.
  • Working Groups: designated lead, PhD students, early career members, a Core Committee member.
  • Expert Advisory Group: expertise in ERS/advocacy, GARD, private-public collaboration, strategic links with ATS, WHO.


If you are interested in more information about the CONNECT CRC or would like to join the network, please contact