19 January 2021

On Thursday, 19 November 2020, the TO-REACH project was at EHMA 2020, the Annual Conference of the European Health Management Association (EHMA). 

The Conference took place digitally on 17-19 November 2020, through the lens of Rotterdam, on the theme ‘Health Management: realigning systems, contexts and players’. EHMA 2020 welcomed over 350 participants and was a fertile ground for exchange among representatives of academia and research, healthcare professionals, health and hospital managers, as well as policy and decision makers.

Dr. Nick Fahy (University of Oxford and European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, UK), Dr. Johan Hansen (Nivel, The Netherlands), Prof. Ellen Nolte (School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK) and Ms. Sabrina Montante (Italian National Health Service and TO-REACH project coordinator, Italy) led the session ‘Lost in translation? Health Systems and innovation transfer’.

In the session they highlighted the challenges that arise in the adoption of biomedical innovations and the role of organisational innovations in facilitating said adoption. Although frameworks are being created to understand the implementation process, they remain focused on learning within one health system and not between different health systems. The TO-REACH project aims to address this gap by providing a European strategy to advance understanding of the adoption, implementation and potential scale-up of service and policy innovations, while also addressing their translation to other settings within and across countries. 

The speakers identified key priority areas where research can contribute and where European health systems can benefit most from each other:

  • The overarching priority is the transition from disease-oriented to patient-centred care, focusing on things such as self-management or health literacy.
  • For that transition to be successful, integration across health sectors and occupations is necessary.
  • This implies the development of long-term care services to meet the population needs; reforms within the roles, tasks, and structures of hospitals; strengthening of primary care services; and the reinforcement of mental health care services.
  • These goals cannot be met without investing in the healthcare workforce; adequate use of digital tools for people-centred services; continuous quality improvement and measurements; as well as effective governance and improved financing

Within each one of those elements, there are different challenges, aspects to reinforce and address. COVID-19 has also added crisis management and emergency preparedness as a priority. 

Some of the key attributes an innovation should have to allows its transfer are the flexibility to be modified by and for potential users; the range of users that can apply the innovation; and the innovation’s capacity to adapt to different local contexts.

To facilitate and improve knowledge sharing and the transfer of service and policy innovations between health systems, the relevant stakeholders need to understand the context within which the innovation is being implemented; the features of the receiving health system; the type of evidence that is needed; the factors that can facilitate and hinder the transfer of the innovation from one system to another; and the impact of the innovation transfer on the performance of the health system.

To address the gap in innovation transfer in Europe, the TO-REACH project wants to facilitate a partnership approach through a joint initiative. This will facilitate the cooperation among countries, increase the capacity-building of the stakeholders at different level, and increase the digital and health literacy of citizens and health and care actors. TO-REACH builds on the experience of related European initiatives and aligns with existing initiatives to realistically tackle the challenge that European health systems are facing.

The full recording of the session is available here.

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EHMA COVID Webinar featuring To-Reach. Better health systems and policies revealed from research and innovation

2 September 2020

The EHMA COVID webinar of the 1st of September that featured To-Reach focused on the challenges facing health systems and that the pandemic has highlighted and on how a framework that facilitates policy and innovation transfer can be a game changer. This is what To-Reach has been working on. The webinar’s keynote speaker from the To-Reach consortium have been:

  • Sabrina Montante, Senior Advisor- EU Affairs, ISS – National Institute of Health of Italy and TO-REACH project coordinator, Brussels
  • Marius Ungureanu, MD PhD, Director of Education – Department of Public Health, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania

The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that To-Reach developed proposes two interlinked types of priority research:

To get to the SRA, the To-Reach consortium first a mapped key policy documents on strategic roadmaps; then national roundtable experts’ consultations took place; finally, online consultations with the wider scientific stakeholder communities were launched.

The core of the SRA is structured around a number of key priority areas of :

Many of the challenges that we’re facing with COVID are not new. They were already present and the pandemic only uncovered them more. These issues include population ageing, accelerated advances in biomed tech, growing consumers expectations, healthcare professionals’ shortages & uneven distributions, and persistent health and financial inequalities and inequities. COVID also highlighted how health and care systems are key translators of innovation, the latter intended as a feature that organisations need to incorporate to have efficient and sustainable solutions. To-Reach aims at identifying innovation, promoting and understanding how to promote innovation and innovation transfer while providing the conceptual frameworks to do that.

The key elements of scaling and transferring innovation are 1) knowing the characteristics of the innovation and its originating system, 2) translating and adapting to the receiving system, 3) setting up the decision making and implementation process, 4) analysis of the effects and performance on the receiving system.

In the future the EU and national systems will be able to respond more coherently to events such as pandemics hopefully. Coordination and integration of health systems in the future could lead to healthier populations and in this process, it will be important to involve non-experts that are impacted by the themes of To-Reach and communicate with each of the involved stakeholders by fine-tuning the message also based on their perspective.

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EHMA COVID-19 Webinar featuring To-Reach on 1st September 2020

31 August 2020

Better health systems and policies revealed from research and innovation

To-Reach’s partner EHMA has launched this year the COVID-19 Webinars. In light of the pandemic, the EHMA webinars want to highlight the importance of bringing experts together, exchanging practices and finding common or shared answers to tackle key public health issues.

With this new webinar series, EHMA brings together all the key stakeholders involved in health management to tackle some of the most important issues related to this global crisis. Topics will include how to manage primary care during the COVID–19 outbreak, control recommendations for hospitals, internal procurement, and more.

The next webinar will be featuring To-Reach’s framework and how it can be pivotal in better understanding and addressing the pandemic.

Date & Time: Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at 1:30 PM Brussels Time

Overview: The COVID-19 emergency has highlighted the importance of policymaking and research working together in order to have better outcomes. Research is key in supporting health systems and addressing challenges, identifying the areas that need improvement, and strengthening and facilitating the transfer of innovation between countries. COVID-19 has rapidly introduced changes in protocols, services, and transferability of successful innovations. However, even before this pandemic health systems faced common challenges including the increasing cost of healthcare; shortages and uneven distribution of health professionals; health inequalities and inequities in access to healthcare; and growing demand for healthcare from ageing populations and rises in chronic diseases and multi-morbidities. A framework that studies the importance of research implementation for service and policy innovation and to make innovation transferability effective has been developed by the TO-REACH* project. Its Strategic Research Agenda has identified the key research areas that could help to effectively understand the health system’s capacity issues and overcome structural barriers. This EHMA webinar will discuss how what the TO-REACH framework is and how it can play a vital role in addressing COVID-19 challenges and highlight areas where we can put more effort and resources to achieve quality and equitable care. The national perspective of Romania will be presented as an example of this, and we will also hear about how stakeholders are being mobilised and coordinated throughout the European Union.

*The TO-REACH project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733274.

Speakers: Sabrina Montante, Senior Advisor- EU Affairs, ISS – National Institute of Health of Italy and TO-REACH project coordinator, Brussels and Marius Ungureanu, MD PhD, Director of Education – Department of Public Health, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania

Practical Information: The webinar is free and open to the public. The system used is Zoom. To register please click here.

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