Regional governments and their stakeholders, in particular, companies shared experiences on 1 December 2016 at the “E-health: let’s find a common language” event hosted by Brussels Capital at the Committee of the Regions. The event aimed at providing participants with information on funding opportunities in the field of healthcare, new connections, tested ideas to improve communication between stakeholders, inspiration and mutual understanding.
E-health brings together stakeholders which are not always used to work together. While improving cooperation is on all lips, the consequences of miscommunication are often under-estimated. The so-called geek gap is costing millions to the economy. The cultural clash between different stakeholders prevents them from building trust and deepen cooperation.
The event, therefore, was designed with a strong focus on enabling participants to take an active role. Because purpose-driven networking is often more of a wishful thought than a reality, every single element of the event was aimed at facilitating the exchange of experience between participants from different stakeholder groups.
Engagement & openness
AER President Dr. Hande Özsan Bozatli, welcomed guests and underlined the longstanding engagement of AER in the field of e-health, with in particular the creation of the AER e-he@lth network in 2006. Expertise has grown over the years and shifted from rather technical discussions to the transformative power of e-health in the public service. Several projects have been developed within the network and carried out, in particular, the Smartcare ICT-PSP project, which was the largest EU deployment project on integrated care systems. Other projects such United4health and Engaged supported regions in the deployment of telemedicine and created mutual learning across Europe around smart health.
North Brabant Minister for Spatial Planning and Finances Eric van Merrienboer delivered an inspiring speech on the need for open cooperation as a sine qua non condition to achieve the desired results or realise innovations. This open cooperation is based on 4 main elements: taking your own responsibility, knowledge, skills, respect for each other. “An organisation such as the AER is ideally suited to act as a role model and leader”, he said, because regions in and outside the European Union make it possible to identify and approach other stakeholders “to find a common language in the exchange of knowledge and skills, but also to actually do business with each other”.
Sharing the small things
Each delegate had the opportunity to explain how they work on a set of topics in small and rather informal discussion groups. Participants put across challenges they are confronted with, in particular, which stakeholders they find difficult to engage or even to communicate with and why they would like to see the communication with these stakeholders improve. Hearing from others what they find difficult helps to get new perspectives.
Participants enriched the discussion with examples which they have seen improve common understanding between stakeholders. Often examples can seem insignificant as such but as a group and through the discussion they can actually be illuminating.
It is often by sharing the small things that common understanding starts to emerge because it refers to the practical aspects and the “how do we start”
Discussion groups were organised around the following topics:
Moderated by Marco D’Angelantonio from HIM SA, with contributions from Pieter van den Haak from ParkinsonNet, Kees Kools from the Care Innovation Center West-Brabant, Wil Philipsen from Fresh Idea Factory and several regional representatives.
Pre-commercial procurement / procurement for innovation
Moderated by Freja Hagsund from EUREGHA, with contributions from Lynda Jones and Jane Brady from the Welsh government as well as Dr. Ramon Maspons from the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS, as per the acronym in Catalan) and many other stakeholders
Translating Research and Innovation into practice through collaborative engagement
Capacity building in care system
Inputs were captured and synthesised by rapporteurs, who disclosed them in the plenary session.
A study visit to the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center in Brussels was an opportunity to discuss public-private partnerships. The visit provided insights on the latest technological innovations and trends and was an opportunity to speak about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care. This video on the Seeing AI project showcases for instance how artificial intelligence is enabling blind people to “see” what happens around them, recognising people’s age and emotions or reading from a menu in a restaurant. Microsoft has also recently announced a quartet of initiatives aimed at “solving” cancer via artificial intelligence.
Cooperation was probably the word most heard during the whole event. It all started with the cooperation between Jean-Luc Vanraes, President of the AER Committee on Regional development and Economy and Agneta Granström, President of the AER Committee on Social Policy and Public Health, who decided to initiate a cooperation on e-health early 2016. Indeed while demographic change should be an opportunity to develop IT innovation and e-health technologies, SMEs are the backbone of the European economy and more than ever before regions need to support their companies in being able to take advantage of the growth potential of e-health & the silver economy. This is why the AER e-he@lth network and the Working group on Business, SMEs and Investments held a joint meeting at the Timişoara Start up HUB on the occasion of the Spring plenaries this year and recently organised a workshop on health innovation ecosystems in Izmir.
Networks as facilitators and bridges
The event was designed and organised together with networks AER collaborates with regularly in the field of health. CORAL, EUREGHA and EHTEL played a significant role in the success of this event by providing their expertise, but maybe more specifically by acting as facilitators and as bridges between different stakeholders.
Related upcoming event
ALEC, Accelerating Digital Health is organised for the fifth time in Norrbotten (SE) and will be an opportunity to discuss how to bridge health gaps in the age of digital everything. The conference is a place for meaningful connection with peers and experts from all over the world in an incredible environment where time and space seem to obey to different rules. These two days of inspiration, networking and skill development will enable participants to futher engage for the digital transformation of health and society as a whole and develop tools to design better health for all.
Once again ALEC will present a great line-up of top-level digital health thought leaders, policy makers and business innovators who will deliver inspiring and informative keynotes on The Digital Transformation of Healthcare and Health Equity in the Digital Age.
Regions, which would like to share their experience in change management for digital transformation should contact AER Coordinator for Policy & Knowledge Transfer Johanna Pacevicius.