Friends of Europe – European Health Summit: Reimagining health systems: green, agile and citizen-centred

29 November 2022

The summit looked at how the innovative thinking triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic to overcome unexpected challenges could be maintained to address future challenges and changes. The summit looked at three key shifts: the changing role of citizens in health; health and the green transition; and an ageing Europe.

New technologies and the digital age are changing the roles of citizens and health professionals. The pandemic has accelerated the shift in patient engagement, placing a greater emphasis on the need for health literacy as citizens became responsible for following epidemiological trends, self-testing for illness and making personal health choices.

Patients drive innovation by providing perspective, insights and data. Their perspectives are essential to drive research, look for solutions and design trials.

The European Health Data Space will facilitate new relationships and AI will help define treatments and predict outcomes for individuals by complementing but not replacing human roles.

The climate crisis is also a health crisis. The health systems also need to be ready for the green transition. A number of areas were mentioned: health sector emissions reductions through innovative strategies to drive resilient transformative solutions, spanning buildings and infrastructure, transport and mobility, procurement, water and waste, models of care…

To cope with the ageing of the population, investment is needed to ensure those extra years are healthy.  A public mindset change and deeper investments will be needed to stem preventable illnesses through primary and secondary prevention.

A redistribution of responsibilities between the individual and the collective will be needed to address the care issues associated with an ageing population. The EU Care Strategy approach to long-term care recommends increasing access and affordability, and improving skills

and working conditions. Right investments and policy mix will offer a huge potential for economic growth for the member states.

Health systems need to be embedded in the community, focus on improving health rather than reducing sickness, and address inequalities. This will deliver better patient outcomes and help health systems become more sustainable