EHFF A Living Architecture for Transformative Change in Healthcare Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:07:37 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 109863255 The EHMA 2017 Annual Conference Wed, 05 Jul 2017 19:19:23 +0000 The EHMA 2017 Annual Conference, titled “Health Futures”, was a gathering of healthcare managers, professionals, researchers and educators, held from 13th-15th June at the prestigious Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

With more than 250 delegates representing numerous countries across Europe and beyond, it was a fruitful three days that gave attendees many opportunities to learn from others in the field of health management and network with representatives of various organisations. A total of 29 Parallel Sessions, 10 Bocconi Management Sessions and 3 Keynote Speeches were organised to allow delegates to be exposed to cutting-edge research and recent findings in fields that included, among others, primary health, health workforce and integrated care.

EHMA is an EHFF partner and the EHFF Chairman, Dr Marius Buiting gave a session on the EHMA/EHFF special interest group on Health Futures. Find his presentation here.


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Ecology of Health by the International Bateson Institute Thu, 29 Jun 2017 21:07:54 +0000 Bromley by Bow, London, 5th June 2017

This was an extremely eclectic day meeting, involving about 50 people at the Bromley by Bow Centre in East London, arranged by the Stockholm and US based Bateson Institute, led by Nora Bateson, daughter of the famous Gregory Bateson and co-hosted by 3RDOPINION.

The subject of the discussion is ‘Ecology of Health and Health of Ecology’.

The point which I am trying to make… is not an attack on medical science but a demonstration of an inevitable fact: that mere purposive rationality unaided by such phenomena as art, religion, dream, and the like, is necessarily pathogenic and destructive of life; and that its virulence springs specifically from the circumstance that life depends upon interlocking circuits of contingency, while consciousness can see only such short arcs of such circuits as human purpose may direct. (Gregory Bateson, 1972)

As this was an out-of-the-box event, the description of what took place is slightly unusual also. Sean Conlan and David Somekh from EHFF attended.

A pictorial description of the day is here 

Find a full description (with nice pictures!) on the 3rdopinion website by clicking here.

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3rd annual Future of Medicine meeting – the role of doctors in 2027 Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:59:01 +0000 On the 18 May at BMA House, London the Royal Society of Medicine Telemedicine Section chaired by Charles Lowe (also a member of the EHFF Community) held a joint meeting with the Institute for Engineering and Technology.

There was a diverse selection of speakers: the programme is here.

We had keynotes from Denis Gilhooly, Global He@lth 2030 Innovation Task Force and from Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation NHS England. Topics included both issues related to innovation, new health technology and also data mining.

A short summary of the event, prepared by the IET is here  and videos of the presentations can be searched for under the event title via:

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Back in Barcelona for the 8th Annual Health 2.0 European Conference Wed, 07 Jun 2017 09:36:54 +0000 This is the third year running that EHFF has attended and contributed to this event, which attracts a wide range of stakeholders in the eHealth business, from users of service, entrepreneurs, large Corporations to providers of services, start-ups and policy-makers.

The Agenda and event promo can be accessed here:

As an introduction to a key theme of this year’s event, here is a short blog from Pascal Lardier, International Executive Director of H 2.0 Europe entitled ‘Are Europeans Ready to Become Health Consumers?’

EHFF contributed to two panels, as will be seen from the Agenda. On Wednesday 3rd May we worked with Andrew and Esther Schorr of Patient Power (a US NGO for survivors of cancer) on an afternoon programme ‘The rising voice of patients’ and DS chaired one of the sessions (full session programme here) ‘designing with patients’.

On Thursday we participated in the panel ‘Health 2.0 for the Brain and Soul’ which was co-managed by our old friend Mark Brown of Social Spider and by Aline Noizet, Business Development Health 2.0 Europe.

As well as meeting many colleagues and seeing some interesting demonstrations, we also were able to talk to new potential collaborators who clearly had interests in common with us. We highlight one, Guy Yeoman from AstraZeneca who is doing innovative work on collaborative design in the biopharmaceutical industry. Here is a relevant article from the BMJ, published shortly after the conference.

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EHFF supports Latvia Quality Society annual conference Riga April 27 Fri, 02 Jun 2017 18:27:43 +0000 Dzintars Putnis EHFF

Dzintars Putnis, President of the Latvian Quality Society is an old friend of EHFF and an EHFF Community founder member.

He invited David Somekh to this years conference ‘Changing world’ (programme) and David gave the keynote presentation (see here)

The conference, although mainly for members of the Latvian society, drew speakers from UK, Finland, Lithuania and Georgia and there was an interesting selection of viewpoints including a presentation on the Finnish Quality Innovation award, which has been running as a competition since 2007 (see here).

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European Commission eHealth week 2017, Malta Fri, 19 May 2017 07:28:32 +0000 This year’s event, hosted by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU coincided with the publication of the Digital Single Market mid-term review by the European Commission, with a chapter on ‘Digital transformation of health and care’. This lifts eHealth quite high on the EU political agenda for the next two years. The talks and informal discussions at the eHealth week showed a certain level of frustration – not quite another vision, not quite another call for action. Rather action itself. The incoming Estonian EU Presidency asked ECHAlliance to bring together a group of organizations to work on a Digital Health Society Declaration, to be announced at a Presidency Conference in October in Tallinn. EHFF was invited to join the group. We attended the kick-off meeting last week and will promote our messages on co-creation and tackling barriers to adoption via this channel. The presentation at the kick-off is here

From: Agnieszka Daval-Cichon, Philips Europe and EHFF Director

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Will Brexit have an effect on Health in the UK and in the other EU Countries? Fri, 19 May 2017 07:13:10 +0000 By Bernard Merkel

A couple of weeks ago the EU marked its 60th birthday – or more accurately it was the 60th anniversary of the signing of the original Treaties of Rome which set in motion the whole process which has led to the EU as we know it today.

In an editorial to mark the occasion, the Lancet set out some of the EU’s achievements in health over the last 60 years.[1] The editorial cites in particular the regulation of pharmaceuticals, the control of tobacco products, the development of European guidelines for management of major health conditions, the establishment of the European Food Safety Agency and the setting up of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the newly-launched European Reference Networks to tackle rare diseases.

It’s a strange piece which omits many important health –related areas where the EU has been involved. But at least it highlights the fact that the EU has played and does play a major role in health, even though each country is ultimately responsible for its healthcare system. [2]

But the EU’s 60th birthday celebrations were sadly overshadowed to some extent by the Brexit process which was formally launched just a couple of days later. So is there anything we can say about the likely effects of Brexit on health in the UK, and even perhaps on health in the rest of the EU?

A vivid memory of the EU referendum campaign in the UK was of the leave campaign bus driving round the country with the slogan that leaving the EU would save the UK £350 million a week, and that the money saved would go to the NHS. This highly dubious claim received enormous publicity and no doubt had some influence on British voters. But it has now been replaced by a much bigger financial argument, which will certainly play a central role in the forthcoming negotiations: how much should the UK pay as a fee to leave the EU? The European Commission (which will lead the EU side in the negotiations) has indicated that the amount it will seek for outstanding commitments could be as much as £50 Billion. The UK may well start with a counter-proposal that they owe nothing at all. This issue will have to be resolved during the two year negotiations if they are to succeed. Any sizeable amount agreed would greatly outweigh any conceivable extra money for the NHs which might be available in the more distant future.

But apart from this, are we any wiser about the potential effects of Brexit on health in the UK than we were during the referendum campaign? The short answer is not very much.   There are, however, a few indications, some provided by the work of the House of Commons Health Committee which is conducting an enquiry about the possible impact of Brexit on health and social care. They are looking at various areas, including the health and social care workforce, reciprocal health coverage (such as the EHIC scheme), regulation of medicines and medical devices, research, public health and resources for EU programmes, agencies and networks.[3]

We are for example beginning to get some evidence that the uncertainties produced by Brexit are having an impact on the recruitment and retention of EU nationals working in the NHS as doctors and nurses. The General Medical Council surveyed EU doctors in the NHS. Only 2000 (about 10% of the total) replied, but of those, 60% said they were considering leaving, nearly all because of Brexit.[4] The Nursing and Midwifery Council has found that 2,700 EU nurses left their register last year and that in the last quarter of 2016 new nurses coming from the EU fell by 75% from the 2015 total. [5] The significance of these figures should not be overstated. Nevertheless, at a time when the UK is very dependent on EU staff working in the NHS and social care,[6] they are certainly of concern.

One other development that was not fully foreseen last year was the view eventually reached by the UK Government that Brexit must mean leaving the EU single market. One consequence of this is the decision that the UK will leave the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and will have to set up its own alternative arrangements for licensing medicines. Many were surprised by this decision given the size and importance of the UK pharmaceutical industry – one reason the UK had wanted to have the EMA based in London in the first place – and the major role played in its work by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency[7]. This decision, and the logic behind it, throws up questions about whether the UK will also be leaving other EU agencies and regulatory bodies and systems, such as the Food Safety agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and what this might mean for public health protection in the UK.

As for health in the rest of the EU, at first glance there would not seem to be any major consequences from Brexit. But of course there will be some impact. First, there is the issue of resources. The UK has been the second largest contributor (after Germany) to the EU budget. When its contributions cease, there will be a shortfall that will either have to be met by remaining countries, or EU spending will have to be reduced. This will inevitably effect the amount available for health-related activities: projects financed by the structural funds, research, health programmes and EU agencies. This could have a negative impact, particularly on poorer and smaller European countries with less capability in tackling health problems, such as communicable diseases, who are more reliant on EU support.

Similarly, for all the current problems of the NHS, the UK has considerable expertise in many areas of health and health services, including biomedical research, development and assessment of pharmaceuticals and health technologies, monitoring and control of communicable diseases and health threats, and training and development of health professionals. Unless specific new arrangements are made, withdrawal from the EU could mean that that expertise is no longer available for use in EU programmes, networks and agencies which, combined with possible financial shortfalls, could reduce their effectiveness in the future.

It is far too early to predict with any confidence what Brexit will mean for health. But it certainly has the potential to cause significant problems both in the UK and elsewhere. Lets hope that some attention is paid to these issues in the negotiations.






[1] What has Europe ever done for health? The Lancet Vol 389, No 10 075 March 25-31 2017

[2] It overlooks, for example, environmental health controls, health and safety at work, free movement of health professionals, cross-border health care and reciprocal health care coverage, blood and organs, medical devices, nutrition, health research, clinical trials, international trade, development, e-health,   and recommendations on the sustainability of health systems . And it gets various things wrong, ranging from specifics about how the European Commission is organized and who is responsible for medicines pricing, right through to the basic principles underlying the EU.

[3] See the article on the progress of the Brexit enquiry, ‘What Does Brexit Mean For Health In The UK’, by Nick Fahy and Tamara Hervey in Eurohealth Vol 23, No 1 , 2017

[4] Evidence given to the House of Commons Health Committee by Charlie Massey, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC in the Hearing of 28 February

[5] Reported in The Times of 27 March

[6] The current estimate is that there are 90,000 EU nationals employed in social care, and 58,000 in the NHS. Figures cited by Fahy and Hervey

[7] Confirmed by The UK Secretary of State for Health in his evidence to the Health Committee on 24 January







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EHFF AGM and Board Meeting: Dublin March 30th 2017 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:26:55 +0000 After previous AGMs in London and Brussels, this year we enjoyed the hospitality of the Irish capital. The Board papers will also be accessible in the appropriate section of the website, according to agreed transparency principles but what follows is a brief summary of the proceedings and links to some key papers considered by the Board.

This year saw the resignation of one of the founding Directors, David Goldberg, who is living in Oregon and wants to spend more time with his family, having moved house recently and also much occupied with a new grandchild. We wish him well and thank him for his contribution. David has been invited to become our first Life Member.

Agnieszka Daval-Cichon, formerly with DG Sante and now with Philips Europe has taken David’s place as a Director of EHFF. We also welcomed Bernard Merkel as a non-Executive, now retired from SANCO and working as a free-lance consultant back in the UK. Jeni Bremner, formerly of EHMA has joined us as Director of Corporate Development on a part-time basis since July 2016 and Matthijs Zwier continues to play his role as Associate Director. Prof Daniel Steenstra also attended in his role as senior advisor.

The Agenda for the two meetings is here. DS presented a short version of the Annual report for 2016, in the format of 7 PowerPoint slides here. This provoked a lively discussion on the future direction of EHFF and the report was accepted. The annual accounts for 2016 were presented and accepted here. it was agreed that it was essential to have a day away together during the summer to discuss in particular how much during the last four years we have managed to refine EHFF’s mission and USP to the extent that we can ‘sell’ the concept to a wider audience and hence grow the community more rapidly.

Finally various business items were discussed, of interest perhaps being the idea that given the Brexit process having been initiated, EHFF can best retain credibility as a European organisation by moving the Company registration from London to Dublin. It was agreed to start this process and identify any logistical problems that this might create. The draft minutes for the whole event here.


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EUROPEAN SUMMIT: Prevention and self-management of airway diseases European Parliament 29th March Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:19:32 +0000 This session was master-minded by Prof Jean Bousquet, with the support of two MEPs who coordinate the parliament special interest group on airways disease (David Borrelli and Sirpa Pietikainen), in conjunction with EUFOREA-ARIA, the European Forum for Research and Education in Allergy and Airway Diseases section on Allergic rhinitis and its impact on asthma. The programme and speaker details here.

A distinguished group of scientists made brief presentations on the scientific rationale for prevention of chronic airways diseases and the meeting then heard a brief address from Martin Seychell, Deputy Director of DG Sante on the EU’s role in this field.

Then followed two brief sessions on the launch of the European Patient Support Platform where Prof Bousquet introduced an ongoing trial of a phone app for patients with allergic rhinitis to monitor their condition. The last session was on innovative management strategies and DS for EHFF spoke about the PROSTEP project, his presentation here.

Other presentations may be available soon from the website. If so, they will be added subsequently.

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PiSCE project final conference: Brussels Mar. 17th Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:14:00 +0000 After kicking off in 2014 this tender, entitled ‘Pilot project on the promotion of self-care systems in the European Union’ came to an unscheduled halt in July 2015 when the team leading the Consortium, from CBO, were caught up in their parent organization becoming insolvent. The tender concept was of an eighteen month track, whereby a previous tender on cost-benefit of self-management in minor conditions led to the Commission defining six specimen minor and self-limiting conditions for which promotion and educational techniques might be developed. One of the tasks included within the tender was to create a platform of experts, representing all the relevant stakeholders, to advise on the guidelines and communication methods required as well as policy implications. After a year in limbo, while the Commission dealt with the financial implications of the failed contract, DCHE, one of the lead group were allowed to take over management of the project in September 2015 and brought it to a successful conclusion with this final conference. EHFF has supported the steering group throughout the tender period.

The programme for the final conference is here. As will be seen we were addressed by John Ryan, Director of DG Sante, but we don’t have a transcript of his encouraging address yet although a video is in preparation. What we did have was an inspirational address from a doyen of Public Health policy, Prof Ilona Kickbusch, her presentation here as well as from Prof. Bert Vrijhoef, expert in public health policy, integrated care and innovation here. The final conference presentation was from DS on the future of self-care here. For other presentations of the project outcomes, here is the link to the project website where they are available for download.



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