News & Updates

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

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.

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

TO-REACH – COVID-19 Statement

Enhanced solidarity and exchange of knowledge on service and policy innovation: crucial instruments to strengthen our health and care systems in a rapidly evolving environment

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an enormous impact on our health systems, and most of them are responding with speed and innovation. This crisis is putting an unprecedented level of pressure on all components of our systems, with new and evolving thinking on how to efficiently and effectively address the various challenges it creates for decision-makers, planners, those working at the frontline of service delivery and the wider population. Health systems are introducing radical changes in terms of emergency protocols, public health measures integrated with the reorganisation of hospital care, responding to the pressures placed on critical care in particular, innovative digital solutions, shortages of medical and protective equipment and infrastructure, and redeploying health care workers, while ensuring that the most vulnerable in the population and those providing essential services are being cared for.  The pandemic is strongly impacting on health research, too, reprioritising and revising ongoing work to support health system efforts to tackle the crisis, extraordinary levels of data exchange, collaboration between sectors, analysis and a shared need for new evidence. Connection between action and research has never been so necessary even in domains as health policy and health services research.

This emergency clearly demonstrates once again the complexity and interconnectedness of our health and social care systems, and the complexity of introducing and managing change in a rapidly evolving environment. Novel diagnostic, containment and mitigation policies are essential to reduce the demand for critical services and ensure timely treatment. But as affordability is a clear prerequisite to access diagnostics and treatment, service and policy innovation is as crucial to effectively address health system capacity issues and overcome structural barriers. The TO-REACH Strategic Research Agenda has identified a number of key areas that are at the forefront of the pandemic crisis that our health systems are currently facing and that they might need to confront again in the future. These includes sustainable health service redesign and workforce planning, information technology and data exchange for health improvement, governance and health financing, collaboration, cross-country information exchange and research. These are at the very heart of the international debate on our health systems and services.

Health systems are learning from each other in real time with COVID-19, although with great uncertainty about what experiences elsewhere can teach us about our own systems and what we should do. This illustrates anew the need for enhanced solidarity and exchange of knowledge on our health and care systems and on how we should support the effective transfer and implementation of innovative services and policies within a sustainable framework for cooperation in Europe. Improved and shared understanding of the different contexts and their impacts on system performance and structures is vital.

Within this context the TO-REACH consortium, whilst supporting EU’s coordination efforts in response to the crisis, upholds the need for even stronger cooperation and exchange of knowledge and evidence, highlighting their crucial importance in improving and strengthening our health and care systems and services; today in the face of this unprecedented crisis and in the aftermath, when we will need to ensure sustainability and quality of care for all.

The TO-REACH Consortium

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Update and Agenda – Innovations in Health and Social Care – Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Europe (3 December 2019)

As previously shared, the TO-REACH Consortium is organising together with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Academy of Finland, the conference ‘Innovations in Health and Social Care – Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Europe‘. 

The conference, taking place on Tuesday 3rd December 2019, is organised under under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the European Union.

We’re glad to share the final agenda for the event, which will bring together representatives from different policy areas, as well as stakeholders from public and private sector, and academia.


9.00–9.30 Registration

9.30–10.30 Plenary Session

Chair: Nick Fahy, University of Oxford / European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

  • Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Director General of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland
  • Pekka Rissanen, Deputy Director General, Knowledge and Data, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
  • Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission 
  • Pilar Aguar Fernandez, Head of Unit, Health Innovations, Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Walter Ricciardi, Public Health Professor, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, TO-REACH Project Coordinating Team and Chair of the Mission Board on Cancer
  • Usman Khan, Executive Director, European Patients Forum

10.30–11.00 Coffee break

11.00–13.00 Parallel Working Groups

First round at 11.00–12.00, second round at 12.00–13.00; participants can attend two working groups.

  • Working Group 1: Implementing patient-centered integrated care from health to well-being
  • Working Group 2: Paying for value and innovation
  • Working Group 3: Digitalisation of European health systems
  • Working Group 4: European health and care workforce for the future

13.00–14.00 Lunch buffet

14.00–14.45 Wrap up from chairs and rapporteurs of Working Groups

14.45–15.15 Coffee break

15.15–16.00 Open discussion and closing remarks

  • Markus Perola, Vice Chair of the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment, Academy of Finland
  • Silvio Brusaferro, President of the Italian National Institute of Health, TO REACH Project Coordinating Team

Date and time: Tuesday 3 December 2019 from 10:00 to 16:00 (CET)

Venue: Stanhope Hotel Brussels by Thon Hotels, Rue Du Commerce 9, Brussels, Belgium


The event is by invitation only. For more information, please contact: Riikka Rossi, THL
+358 29 524 7436
[email protected]

More info and details:

TO-REACH responds to European Commission Consultation on Horizon Europe

On Friday 6th September 2019, the TO-REACH Consortium responded to the European Commission public consultation ‘ Horizon Europe Co-design 2021-2024’, focused on co-designing and shaping the future EU research and innovation investment framework. The consultation collected inputs from across Europe and beyond, informing the Commission’s work towards the definition of a ‘Strategic Plan’ for Horizon Europe, which will guide the work programmes and calls for proposals for Horizon Europe’s first four years (2021-2024). The consultation and its results will be further discussed during the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels from 24 to 26 September 2019.

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Save the date – Innovations in Health and Social Care – Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Europe (3 December 2019)

The TO-REACH Consortium is glad to share the ‘save the date‘ for its upcoming event ‘Innovations in Health and Social Care – Enhancing Health and Wellbeing in Europe‘. The conference will be organised in collaboration with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Academy of Finland and under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the European Union.

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Join our Online Consultation – Deadline Extended to 26th July 2019

Discover our Strategic Research Agenda and join the SRA Online Consultation

The TO-REACH Consortium is pleased to share its draft Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The SRA has the ambition to address the increasing challenges faced by health systems, directed to those research areas of major relevance in the coming years. 

In particular, the TO-REACH SRA provides a European strategy to advance our knowledge and 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. 

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Check out the TO-REACH project video!

The TO-REACH Consortium is glad to share the first version of our dissemination video, featuring statements from Walter Ricciardi, PI of TO-REACH and President of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS); Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, President European Public Health Association; and Irene Norstedt, Acting Director DG Research – Health Directorate.

Discover our project objectives and activities, get to know our consortium and know more about the latest update from TO-REACH! Read More »


On Friday 30th November. The TO-REACH consortium organised a session dedicated to our project at the European Public Health Conference 2018, taking place in Ljubljana between 28th November and 1st December 2018. The session was chaired by Usman Khan, European Health Management Association. Read More »