Clockwise from top left: Inger Ekman, Roberta Metsola, Roman Lewandowski and Heather Lynn Rodgers.

European conference held to produce new working plan for person-centred care


Inger Ekman has led two EU-projects since 2013 with the aim of testing person-centred care in Europe. On the 11th March a conference was held in order to produce a new plan for continued work. Parts of the conference were recorded and are now available to watch.

Person-centred care 4 sustainable health systems - How to transform health care in the post-pandemic era was the title of the consensus conference was held on Thursday 11 March for the EU project CostCares. 28 European countries have participated in this project, which is a COST Action within the frame of EU Horizon 2020. CostCares, which has been running since 2017, has been chaired by senior professor Inger Ekman, GPCC's former Center Director. The purpose of the project has been to test person-centred care in different countries in Europe with different health care systems to gain knowledge about how a future health care with high quality and cost control should be designed.

Builds on previous projects

The work actually began in 2013 with the WeCare project, which was also EU-funded, and led by Inger Ekman. Several European research institutes, companies and non-profit organizations participated and conducted a series of interactive workshops followed by a final consensus conference. The project culminated in a research and development plan, which was published in The Lancet, and that CostCares has since continued working on.

- CostCare's final conference will also be in the format of a workshop that will be based on consensus, Inger Ekman explained a few days before the conference. The approximately 180 European conference participants will be able to vote on various proposals with a mentimeter and work on issues in breakout rooms. The purpose is to develop a new plan for continued work.

Ripples on the water

Inger goes on to say that although not all participating countries have been equally active, a number of exciting projects have been launched in the home countries of the various project participants, for example in Poland and Spain.

But the real value in this work has been the networking, which creates ripples on the water. This has not least led to the opening of the conference by Vice-President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola. She said, among other things, that the healthcare system of the future in the EU must become more humane, and be built on putting the person at the center.

- The cost projects are about meeting and getting to know each other and working in partnership, says Inger Ekman. It may take some patience, but after four years we have now really succeeded in this. Collaborating in this way strengthens research, especially in the smaller EU countries, such as Malta, Lithuania and Ukraine. In addition, many of the project participants are young and especially they are now very eager to continue working on these issues.

Watch the recording of the conference

Parts of the conference were recorded and are now available to watch on CostCares YouTube Channel. Click here to access it.

Selected publications

A summary of the R&D roadmap on future healthcare with high quality and cost control that the We Care project resulted in:

Ekman I, Busse R, van Ginneken E, Van Hoof C, van Ittersum L, Klink A, Kremer JA, Miraldo M, Olauson A, De Raedt W, Rosen-Zvi M, Strammiello V, Tornell J, Swedberg K. Health-care improvements in a financially constrained environment. Lancet 2016;387 (10019):646-7.

A description of how the R&D roadmap can be applied and tested:

Lloyd H, Ekman I, Rogers H, Raposo V, Melo P, Marinkovic V, Buttigieg S C, Srulovici E, Lewandowski R, Britten N. Supporting Innovative Person-Centred Care in Financially Constrained Environments: the WE CARE Exploratory Health Laboratory Evaluation Strategy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020 April 28;17(9):3050.

A description of how person-centred care is tested in a children's hospital in Poland using “enablers” as described in the R&D roadmap:

Lewandowski R A, Lewandowski JB,, Ekman I,, Swedberg K,, Törnell J,, Rogers HL. Implementation of Person-Centred Care: A feasibility study using the WE-CARE Roadmap. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021Feb 24;18(5):2205