EHFF A Living Architecture for Transformative Change in Healthcare Fri, 19 May 2017 07:46:26 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 109863255 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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CEME seminar on ‘Green Markets, Sustainable Business’ , London March 2nd Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:00:41 +0000 The Centre for Enterprise, Markets & Ethics (CEME) is one of EHFF’s partner organisations. This interesting seminar on sustainable business attracted a small but high quality audience. The programme and overview is here.

For EHFF, the most striking presentations were those on the rise of green energy. From Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance here, Kingsmill Bond of Trusted Sources Lombard here and Cameron Hepburn of New College and Smith School, Oxford here.

In our view they make a convincing case for the inevitable decline of carbon based fuels and also for the illogicality and moral dubiousness of carbon trading.

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Chrodis-JA Final Conference Sun, 19 Mar 2017 15:04:33 +0000 Chronic Disease Joint Action (ChrodisJA) final conference, Thon Hotel, Brussels, February 27-28

EHFF has operated as a Collaborating Partner in this large, three year multi-stakeholder project. Our attendance at and the content of the final meeting of Work Package 7 (WP7, diabetes as a case study) in Rome last October was finally reported in our news section on Jan.6 2017. As this was the work package we were most involved with (although also contributing to WP5 and WP6), EHFF played a small part as a facilitator in one of the session on the first day, related to WP7. The full programme is available here.

All the presentations are openly available via the Chrodis website:

A small selection are provided here: Marina Maggini on lessons from WP7 here, the full text of Commissioner Andriukaitis’ speech here , Ellen Nolte of the WHO observatory’s address on advancing comprehensive healthcare here and finally, Enrico Delgado’s on WP4, the knowledge exchange platform here.

The Press Release from the Conference ‘12 steps to tackle the burden of chronic diseases’ was published on our news feed dated Feb.28th.

A second JA, Chrodis plus, is expected to start in the Autumn. There are still issues to be resolved and when the structure is complete, it will be reported here, as we anticipate, at the very least, to be a Collaborating Partner for this JA also, as it is fits well with the other policy work EHFF has been undertaking in relation to the Commission since 2013.

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3rd CBC DIGITAL HEALTH CONFERENCE Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:35:13 +0000 3rd Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) Digital Health Conference, University College London, February 22-23

As previously, the two day conference was a rich mixture of presentations and discussions on this stimulating topic. The whole programme is here. The whole book of abstracts is here.

Here is a small selection of the full presentations of possible interest: Prof Michie: the human behaviour change project here; Panel: engagement with digital behaviour change interventions here; and Fertleman: altering clinician behaviour here.

During the course of the meeting we were pleased to connect with another of our Community members, Dustin diTommaso of Mad*Pow who is on the scientific committee of the CBC and was chairing one of the sessions.

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JA-CHRODIS Final Conference Press Release Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:44:26 +0000

12 steps to tackle the burden of chronic diseases

JA-CHRODIS Final Conference delivers 12 steps towards implementing practices to reduce the burden of chronic diseases

Chronic diseases already account for 70% to 80% of healthcare budgets in Europe. They constitute a serious threat to health systems’ sustainability if not tackled. Today, clear steps towards addressing the broad chronic disease challenges were presented to policymakers, researchers, and international organisations and NGOs at the JA-CHRODIS final conference. The proposals are the culmination of three years of international collaboration in the area of chronic diseases.

Ahead of his key note speech at the conference, Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, stated that “More than half a million people of working age die prematurely from chronic diseases in the EU every year. This represents a huge cost for society and economy – EUR 115 billion in lost productivity and major health systems’ expenditure. Of course, an even greater cost is that of pain and suffering for the family and friends. This is why I will never tire of speaking about health promotion, disease prevention and protection measures to keep people in good health, and for as long as possible. Participation of all relevant stakeholders is also key. JA-CHRODIS is an example of such participation, collaboration and cooperation. Through a range of concrete actions it has made an important contribution to address the challenges posed by chronic diseases and to make health systems more sustainable, efficient and resilient.”

Carlos Segovia, Coordinator of JA-CHRODIS, launched the ‘12 steps’ document setting out recommended actions for scaling up, transfer, and implementation of practices in order to ultimately reduce the burden of chronic diseases. He explained, “These 12 steps constitute a valuable and practical tool to inspire and guide healthcare professionals and policy makers in their work on the promotion of healthy ageing as well as prevention, management and care of chronic diseases. Thus, they serve a double purpose: firstly, it highlights our results after three years of hard work in one comprehensive, yet concise, statement; secondly, it showcases the possibilities that lie in exchanging good practices at European level to tackle the burden of chronic diseases.”

In various workshops, participants learned about the various outputs of the Joint Action, including the CHRODIS Platform, the online repository of peer-reviewed good practices, the Policy Brief on National Diabetes Plans (NDPs), the multimorbidity care model, and transferability factors for good practices in health promotion and primary prevention.

The conference also heard about wider implications of the chronic disease challenge and how Member States and the EU can address them. Speakers including Vytenis Andriukaitis and WHO Europe’s Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab, addressed how chronic diseases can be reduced and how policies can be of support. Panel discussions also focused on how to make health systems more sustainable, efficient and resilient by integrating health promotion in the wider systems, improving intersectoral work and promoting comprehensive approaches when caring for patients with chronic diseases.



Note to Editors:

  1. The Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Promoting Healthy Ageing across the Life Cycle (JA-CHRODIS) has received funding from the European Union, in the framework of the Health Programme (2008-2013).This European collaboration brings together over 73 associated and collaborating partners from e.g. national and regional departments of health, research institutions and other organisations from 23 EU Member States as well as Norway and Please see:
  2. Chronic diseases account for 85 per cent of the disease burden and pose a great challenge on health systems. Especially, among elderly the chronic diseases are responsible for a loss of quality of life, reduced independence, and decreased functionality
  3. All of JA-CHRODIS’ outcomes are visualised here:
  4. The 12 steps can be accessed here:
  5. More information about the final conference can be found here:


For more information:

Contact the Coordination team at / +34 91 822 2868

Conference organisers: EuroHealthNet – Anne Pierson (

Follow the conference hashtag on social media: #CHRODIS2017


* This press release arises from the Joint Action addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle (JA-CHRODIS), which has received funding from the European Union, under the framework of the Health Programme (2008-2013).

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Demos Helsinki Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:17:24 +0000 Demos Helsinki is a EHFF Partner

Demos Helsinki generates ideas that breed change. They come to us looking for new ideas, new concepts, and strategic change when old solutions become outdated. Our expertise lies in our broad-based expertise in futures studies and our use of first-class research.

Understanding future is useless if you cannot utilise it today. Our vision of the future is an extension of the Nordic speciality. Nordics have been extremely successful societies with a model that combines foresight with co-creation. That is what we can offer for organisations globally, a long sight that thrives from the inclusion of human capabilities in the widest possible setting. In this Nordic spirit we bring people, teams and organisations together to work out how to take on the grand challenges of the future future.

We have a long expertise in analyzing the future trends in health and wellbeing. For example, our work Health 2050 – Four scenarios for human-driven health and freedom of choice presents four different scenarios about how health benefits can be doubled without increasing the total health costs. In our report Well-being of the Metropolis we describe how urban environments could support the capabilities of its citizens, and thus create sustainable well-being.

Our partners – companies, cities, governments and other communities – contact us when old solutions and models prove insufficient and when new ideas and concepts or strategic change are needed. The distinctive quality of our work is achieved by combining systemic, future-oriented research with creative methods for design thinking, prototyping and business modelling.

Demos Helsinki: Combining co-creation and foresight

Click here​ to visit the Demos Helsinki website



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