European health and care systems are facing core common challenges, requiring innovative, harmonized, and coordinated solutions. It’s based on this assumption that the European Partnership on Transforming Health and Care Systems (THCS) was conceived, representing a unique strategic opportunity to enable the future transformation of our health and care systems.
Led by the Italian Ministry of Health, the THCS partnership includes 64 partners from 26 countries, mostly represented by National and Regional Ministries, Research and Innovation Funding Organisations, and Research Performing Organisations. Cofund action under Horizon Europe, the EU's framework program for R&I, the Partnership is designed to support coordinated national and regional R&I funding along with capacity building, networking, dissemination, and other key activities to support health and care systems transformation.
The kick-off event, hosted in Rome by the Italian Ministry of Health on February 13 and 14, brought all partners together for the first time. Representatives from the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) as well as the newly established European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA), actively contributed to the meeting, testifying the strategic importance and EU-added value of this initiative.
THE OPENING REMARKS
The meeting started with the opening remarks from the European Commission and the Italian Ministry of Health, the lead partner of the Partnership.
First, it was a video message from Ms. Irene Norstedt, Director of the People Directorate, Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) at the European Commission. Ms. Norstedt acknowledged the efforts the Commission has put into building this partnership, and the expectations it has regarding its outcomes, particularly in terms of testing and validating new policy approaches to enhance the effectiveness, resilience, and patient-centric nature of healthcare systems across Europe.
Subsequently, Mr. Roberto Frangione, diplomatic advisor speaking on behalf of the Italian Minister of Health, underscored how THCS represents the culmination of a long journey involving a large number of international, European, and national institutions who have demonstrated to share a common vision for the transformation of health and care systems. Frangione acknowledged the complexity of this endeavour, confident that the Partnership will be able to leverage all necessary resources and capitalize on previous experiences to successfully reach its goals.
The first session ended with the remarks of Giovanni Leonardi, Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Health, and Giuseppe Ippolito, Director General of the General Directorate for Research and Innovation in Healthcare at the Italian Ministry of Health, who testified to the strong commitment of the Italian Ministry of Health in this partnership.
THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT
The second session provided an understanding of the EU context in which THCS and its key priorities will be implemented. Annika Stjernquist, from the Health Innovations & Ecosystems Unit at DG RTD, together with Birgit Morlion, Policy Officer at the eHealth, Well Being and Ageing Unit at the DG CONNECT and Cornel Riscanu, from the Health Research Unit at the Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA), held a lively debate with Gaetano Guglielmi, Deputy General Director for Health Research and Innovation, Italian Ministry of Health.
Moderated by Sabrina Montante from the THCS Partnership Coordinating Team, the session elaborated on possible synergies to be established between THCS and other recently EU-funded projects as well as with European Partnerships under Horizon Europe and EU4Health, the digital aspects of the transformation of health and care systems, and the lessons learned from the final evaluation of similar institutionalized partnerships.
THE THCS PARTNERSHIP
The following sessions, held over the course of the two-day meeting, focused on the three pillars of the Partnership, presenting each Work-Package, the corresponding objectives, tasks, deliverables, and outcomes as well as the activities planned for 2023.