High-Level Meeting at the European Parliament on End-User Co-Design

High-Level Meeting at the European Parliament on End-User Co-Design

Posted on February 6, 2020

The EFN organised on the 5th February 2020 a high-level meeting in the European Parliament (EP), followed by a dinner-debate in the Member’s Salon, to celebrate Nursing Now and the WHO Year of the nurse and midwife, especially linked to the digitalisation of the healthcare sector.

The Nursing Now Campaign of the Burdett Trust for Nursing (BTFN) was launched back in 2017, aiming at raising the status and profile of nursing globally and maximising the contribution that the nursing profession makes to Universal Health Coverage, women’s empowerment, economic development, and ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to health and healthcare.

As explained by Elizabeth Adams, the EFN President, nursing is not only a European but a global force for good. To underline that, she expressed her support to the Campaign as well as the reasons for which the EFN is the European Leader.

Picking up on that idea, the meeting continued with MEP Nicolas Gonzales Casares, a politician who has more than 18 years of experience as an emergency nurse. He explained the audience how Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing (and in whose honour 2020 has been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife”)n being the first statistician who collected and analysed patient’s data to inform policy-makers and politicians. Today, there are plenty of health innovations that are based on patient data, reason for which he thinks we should advocate for a common European Data Space. However, he finalised by saying that “we can digitalise health data, but we cannot digitalise the human side of nursing”.

The other topic for discussion was the digitalisation of healthcare, and more concretely, nurses’ contribution as end-users to new tools such as Electronic Health Records. The meeting took off with the EFN Secretary General, Paul De Raeve, explaining the audience how the digitalisation of healthcare is changing the health ecosystem for the better.

The floor was then taken by Thibaut Kleiner, from the European Commission’s (EC) DG Connect, who explained how one of the drivers of innovation is, in fact, the allocated budget – without money being available, innovation cannot be developed nor applied. Hence, he gave great importance to the two upcoming EU research funds Horizon Europe and Digital Europe. The latter programme, he explained, will focus on upscaling and deploying research that is already out there, ensuring that it does have an impact for the end-user.

The meeting continued towards its core session, named “End-User Co-Creation – How to reach Excellence and Impact”. Ricardo Gonçalves, from UNINOVA, introduced the Smart4Health project, which he is coordinating. This project is developing an online health platform together with a system of cross-operable Electronic Health Records. “Smart4Health will enable citizens to manage and bridge their own health data throughout the EU and beyond, advancing own and societal health and wellbeing”, he said.  After him, Marc Lange from EHTEL presented the InteropEHRate project, another H2020 project developing an interoperable and shareable Electronic Health Record.

To finalise, Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, Policy Lead of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), elaborated further on the concept of fostering real co-creation with end-users, to ensure right deployment and impact.

Other high-level speakers during the afternoon session were Saila Rinne (European Commission), MEP Maria Manuel Leitao, MEP Maria da Graca Carvalho, Marc Taverner (International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications, INATBA) and Eva-Stina Slotte (Association of Finnish Local and Regional Affairs, LUNTA LIITTO). All contributions focussed on co-designing, co-creating policies and tools for better health outcomes.

After the event, a diner-debate took place in the Member’s Salon of the European Parliament. Present during the dinner were most of the participants who also attended the preceding event. The discussion continued among MEPs, civil servants from the European Commission (EC), diplomats and other international health-related stakeholders. During the dinner, the EFN’s Executive Committee Members took the opportunity to introduce to stakeholders EFN lobby priorities, mainly linked to professional development, public policy, and workforce. Then, Elizabeth Kuiper from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) openly expressed the industry’s support to the nursing profession. Finally, Usman Khan, from the European Patients Forum (EPF), reminded stakeholders that patients often pick the nurse as their most trusted healthcare professionals, as it is the nurses who are 24/7 at the bedside with them. For that reason, we should continue building on together that trust.

The dinner and the day were closed by Elizabeth Adams, EFN President, who thanked everyone for their participation and encouraged all to openly celebrate 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.