Shaping the Future of Healthcare: Insights from the EUHA Members’ Assembly – Spring 2024

DATE June 26th, 2024

On the occasion of the EUHA Members’ Assembly – Spring 2024, Karolinska University Hospital hosted a series of EUHA meetings and activities from June 12th – 14th. The events gathered numerous EUHA colleagues to explore current healthcare challenges and potential solutions. Key highlights included the EUHA Symposium on Rethinking Healthcare Systems, EUHA Working Group and Network meetings, and a High-level Roundtable. The assembly concluded with Karolinska University Hospital handing over the EUHA Presidency to IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

During the half-yearly EUHA Members’ Assembly in June 2024, EUHA and Karolinska University Hospital hosted a 3-day programme filled with meetings and activities for EUHA colleagues. Highlights of the programme included EUHA Working Group and Network meetings, the Rethinking Healthcare Systems Symposium, and a high-level round table with EU stakeholders and healthcare leaders.

The events revolved around the Rethinking Healthcare Systems Initiative, launched by EUHA in November 2023 at the beginning of Karolinska University Hospital’s EUHA Presidency. Emphasising this initiative, the discussions extended beyond well-known healthcare challenges to underscore the critical need for EU-wide collaborative solutions to foster resilient and sustainable healthcare systems across Europe.

The 3-day programme concluded with the handover of the EUHA Pesidency from Karolinska University Hospital to IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, which will assume the presidency until November 14th.

EUHA Working Groups and Networks

During these three exciting days, several of EUHA’s network and working groups met to discuss the ongoing progress of their projects and new ways to collaboratively address tomorrow’s healthcare challenges. The groups meeting at Karolinska University Hospital, included the Digital Health and Data Network, the Clinical Trials Working Group, the Learning in Value Working Group and the Policy Working Group.

The Policy Working Group met for the first time this June with their newly appointed coordinators from Aarhus University Hospital and the Central Denmark EU Office. The coordination of Aarhus University, together with the EU Liaison Office of Central Denmark, is expected to strengthen EUHA’s influential role in Europe, showcasing the uniqueness of our alliance and ultimately raising the voices and interests of university hospitals.

Symposium “Rethinking Healthcare Systems”

One of the highlights of the events was the EUHA Symposium on Rethinking Healthcare Systems which gathered panellists from EUHA members and beyond. The symposium was kindly inaugurated by the Mayor of Metropolitan Stockholm, Aida Hadžialić, who emphasised the key role of collaboration in fostering high-quality, resilient and sustainable healthcare systems.

Among several topics, panels explored the innovative care delivery models, the need to foster integrated decentralised healthcare systems through innovative solutions (e.g. wearable devices, domotics, smart technology, etc.), and the importance for EUHA hospitals, as a network of digitally-driven hospitals, to develop comprehensive data strategies that foster a responsible implementation of AI systems in healthcare.

Additionally, panellists emphasised the importance of international collaborations to develop future-proof healthcare systems. Discussions revolved around the need for policymakers to prioritise interoperable healthcare systems, especially in light of potential threats and emergencies.

As stressed by the keynote speaker, Michael J. Maniaci (Mayo Clinic Center of Digital Health),

High-level roundtable

The pinnacle of the events was the high-level round table meeting, which convened stakeholders from diverse sectors. This included Maya Matthews, Head of Unit in DG SANTE for the State of Health, European Semester, and Health Technology Assessment at the European Commission, and Acko Ankarberg Johansson, Minister of Health Care in the Swedish government. Also in attendance were members of the EUHA-appointed Advisory Board for Rethinking Health Systems, who presented essential elements for transforming healthcare systems into resilient and sustainable entities.

The discussions in the roundtable focused on the pressing need to rethink healthcare systems and the expanding role of university hospitals in driving such transformation. To do so, EUHA members must embrace new models of care that prioritise prevention, address the long-run population health risks, conduct meaningful and impactful research and swiftly disseminate evidence. Only by taking these steps, EUHA will support the development of robust healthcare systems for tomorrow.

Consequently, the roundtable concluded as a call to action for authorities and policymakers, to provide the essential support for university hospitals in embarking on this collaborative effort to build future-proof healthcare systems.  

The insights provided during the discussion, together with the contributions of the EUHA Advisory Board on Rethinking Healthcare Systems (RHCS) throughout the Spring, will be compiled into a forthcoming position paper on Rethinking Healthcare Systems.  

EUHA Presidency Handover

The events concluded with the EUHA Presidency handover to Ospedale San Raffaele (Milan). EUHA will now be chaired for the next six months, until November 14th, by Dr Anna Flavia d’Amelio Einaudi, Research Director of the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, and Managing Director of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.

With the conclusion of the events and the handover of the EUHA Presidency, EUHA concludes another cycle of work as it nears its 7th anniversary. Reflecting on our accomplishments, it remains clear that university hospitals must work together to solve the many challenges that healthcare is confronted with. For this reason, EUHA will continue working to become an influential stakeholder at the European level, to help drive sustainable change and improve the quality of care for the European population.