Critically, the acute hospital model is costly and economically unsustainable in its present form. Evidence suggests that technology growth is contributing significantly to polarisation of services. It will transform and accelerate the capacity to transfer more services to local communities. In similar terms the drive for economies of scale and scope in high-technology investment will result in a much greater concentration of specialist services in regional tertiary centres. In essence, EU health systems will need to shift from a hospital centric model of care to a pluralistic care model.
In seeking to become modern, responsible and sustainable health care systems, health care providers should (i) be encouraged to become co-producers of health innovation through participation in regional and cross-border value chains and ‘living labs’ with industry and research facilities (ii) be open to new and affordable innovation products e.g. wearable items for the monitoring of chronic disease conditions in order to improve standards of self-care. The issue here is not the cost of new innovation products and the changes to service provision they enable. It is if their adoption reduces the demand for and the costs of acute and long-term services especially.
Innovating for health is a cross-cutting driver for HCN with relevance across all our areas of expertise whether this is applied as a project leader (EUREGIO III), project partner (INNOLABS, Cross4Health, Danubalt, HealthEquity-2020, BenchCan), as a contractor/sub-contractor (ESI Funds for Health), as a co-writer of successful research & innovation funding proposals (PRECISION, INTENT, COLOSYS, B-CAST) or as an adviser/external expert (WHO EURO, CHAFEA, DG REGIO, H2020).