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Successful EU conference held on identifying research gaps to create a sustainable high quality health care


The conference “Pan-European road towards future health care” was hosted by The University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-centred care - GPCC at Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg on 14-15 April for the We Care consortium.

The conference stage with a speaker and audience

At the interactive meeting over 100 key EU stakeholders from academia, health care, patient organisations, industry, think tanks, NGOs and government took part in an intense programme with the purpose of identifying research gaps which might help identify how Europe’s healthcare costs can be contained whilst quality of care is maintained or even improved. This should ensure that all EU citizens have equal access to health care, not only those who can afford private solutions.

Graphs produced by audience participation using mentometer

Conference participants were encouraged to participate throughout the conference using audience response meters and twitter. 67 users and 128 tweets (86 RTs) in 6 hours made #wecare2015 a trending Twitter topic in Sweden.

“Old fashioned” vocal comments were also encouraged, and controversial comments were especially encouraged, as the We Care consortium were keen to get to the bottom of all issues and make sure all aspects and views were aired and covered. They wanted to identify the research gaps that will be reported back to the EU commission and formulated in an EU R&D roadmap and strategy for future health care in Europe.

-These gaps, if covered in the future, will hopefully help to create a sustainable cost contained high quality health care in Europe, conference host Inger Ekman explained.

The specific topics covered, by different panels were:

• The patient’s/person’s role
• Quality measures
• Technology
• Disease prevention and health promotion
• Contracting strategies
• Incentive systems

 Speaker  Robert Andrew Johnstone, FRSA and Board Member of the European Patients’ Forum

Key note speakers were Lisa Lindström, CEO of Design company Doberman, on “How to design for future health care”, and Robert Andrew Johnstone, FRSA and Board Member of the European Patients’ Forum (pictured), on “Patient empowerment”.

Conference host Inger Ekman, Professor and Centre Director of the University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-centred Care, has co-ordinated the We Care-project, with, amongst others Imperial College in London, VU University in Amsterdam, The Technical University of Berlin, The European Patient Forum, Imec (formerly Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre) and computer giant IBM as key partners.

The conference marked the end of a series of workshops which have been taking place in various places in Europe during the past two years, and an R &D roadmap for future health care will be submitted to the EU commission. Throughout the project all EU citizens have been able to submit research ideas to cover gaps on the We Care web site.