Working towards the definition of the 2024 Annual Work Plan, on April 18th the THCS Partnership hosted its first Brainstorming event.
The objective of the meeting was twofold: collect inputs on research and innovation gaps in health and care transformation, which should be addressed by the Partnership and reflected in its 2024 Annual Work Plan and future Joint Transnational Calls; and to establish synergies between the Partnership and parallel initiatives, with the ultimate goal of avoiding duplication of efforts.
To achieve these goals, the Brainstorming exercise was intended to be a participative process, involving not only THCS Consortium Partners but the European Commission and key EU and international stakeholders as well. For this reason, in this first Brainstorming event several guests were invited to contribute: Jean Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health; Paolo Muchelutti, coordinator of JA HEROES; Carmen La Plaza from DG RTD; Ms. Birgit Morlion from DG CONNECT.
The first intervention presented THCS’ Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), the document that has guided the development of the THCS Partnership so far. Research gaps identified by the consortium were presented, and it was underlined how it is important to learn from priorities that have already been identified by the scientific literature, and at the same time making sure that THCS does not duplicate the work done by previous initiatives such as AAL, MYBL, and TO-REACH, joint actions, etc… .
The first contribution from a parallel initiative was by Jean Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health. Mr. Bourez first of all presented the EIT Health, which is one of the 9 knowledge and innovation communities (KIC) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and an institutionalised partnership under the Horizon Europe Pillar III. Within the EIT Health network, partners organisations from academia, business and research collaborate across discipline and sectors to create knowledge and encourage investment in innovation, specifically focusing on four flagships: new models to deliver healthcare; facilitating the uptake of Digital Medical Devices & Diagnostics; harnessing the fool potential of health data for innovation; supporting the IPCEI in Health to address market failures.
Regarding potential R&I gaps and trends for health systems transformation, EIT Health identified the following: upskill and reskill healthcare professionals; recognition of new models to deliver healthcare; Digital Medical Devices; health data; patient ownership.
To conclude, Mr Bourez pointed out that there are many potential synergies between EIT Health and the objectives of the THCS partnership, and that will surely lead to future collaborations in between the two initiatives.
The following speaker was Paolo Michelutti, coordinator of JA HEROES. This Joint Action works specifically on Health Workforce, with the objective to improve the capacity of the EU member states to plan for their health workforce (HWF) so as to ensure accessibility, sustainability, and resilience of healthcare services. It is an initiative funded by the EU4Health programme, involving 19 countries and European organisations with a total of 50 partners and with a budget of approximately 8,7 billion euros (out of which 7 are co-founded by EC).
The last speakers to take the floor were Ms. Carmen La Plaza, from DG RTD, and Birgit Morlion, from DG CONNECT. They both shared critical considerations from the European Commission.
Ms. Plaza explained that R&I gaps in health & care transformation will be addressed as well by Horizon Europe Cluster 1, destination 4, and that THCS should therefore pay attention to not overlap with these calls. According to Ms. La Plaza, THCS’ Annual Work Plan 2024 - and the related Joint Transnational Call, should therefore pay particular attention to greening and sustainability of health and care systems; fiscal sustainability; workforce and digitalization.
Mr. Morlion underlined the digital aspect of the health and care transformation, explaining the larger policy framework, referring to the Digital Decade strategy and the Digital Europe programme. Health sector is obviously one of the key domains in which to deploy innovative digital solutions, and the main gaps in this respect are the role of data in the transformation of the health and care system and the use of AI.
The event ended with an interactive SliDo session, in which participants were asked to reply to several questions, such as “What priorities identified by the SRIA should be addressed by THCS in 2024?”, and “What type of actions should be considered in the next AWP?”, collecting their structured feedback about the event. To conclude, THCS Coordinating Team wrapped up the session, and invited the audience to participate in the next Brainstorming event, which will take place on May 8.