The collaboration, coordinated by the Biosistemak Institute for Health System Research (formerly Kronikgune) and The Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas within the framework of the European Gatekeeper project, has contributed to the transfer of knowledge of the Basque Country internationally.

A delegation lead by the Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), with representatives from the Region of Crete Ecosystem for Active and Healthy Ageing, the Administration of the Healthcare Region of Crete, the Regional Directorate of Public Health, and the Hellenic Digital Health Cluster, have visited the Basque Country to learn more about the functioning of the Health System and its innovative services and activities. This visit has been financed within the framework of the Twinning programme,  launched in the European project Gatekeeper in which Biosistemak (formerly Kronikgune) and Osakidetza participate as members of the consortium. The study visit programme focused on Gatekeeper Use Case 7: “Management of polypharmacy in chronic patients” implemented in the Basque Country.

For two days, on the 9th and 10th of May 2023, visits and working meetings were organized to raise awareness and transfer knowledge to the Region of Crete delegation about Osakidetza’s healthcare organization, especially the Integrated Care strategy, digital strategy, and current pharmacy strategy. The event also served to share the experience of the Integrated Healthcare Organisations – OSIs, and the Directorate General of Osakidetza in the implementation of a pilot project defined within the framework of the European project, Gatekeeper.

On the first day, the representatives of FORTH and the Region of Crete met with the Director of Health Research and Innovation of the Basque Government, Marian Ibarrondo, the Director of Biosistemak (formerly Kronikgune), Ane Fullaondo, and the Scientific Coordinator of Bioef, Lorea Mendoza, at the offices of Biosistemak (formerly Kronikgune) in the Bilbao Exhibition Centre BEC. The purpose of this meeting was to present the Reference Site of Crete and its quadruple helix ecosystem. Presentations were made about the Healthcare Region of Crete, the RIS3 strategy, the Hellenic Digital Health Cluster, and the Centre for eHealth Applications and Services of FORTH. The meeting also served to present the Basque health system and health ecosystem as well as the innovation and research ecosystem. The meeting focused on identifying potential synergies for the collaboration of the two regions in future projects and initiatives.

The second day was held at the Directorate General of Osakidetza in Vitoria-Gasteiz. In addition to presenting the strategic framework of Osakidetza, Heads of the different services showed how Osakidetza is structured, presented the Integrated Care strategy, as well as the digital tools and platforms available in the system, including the Electronic Health Record, the Health Folder, the Osanaia platform, and e-Prescribe, a tool used by pharmacy staff for prescribing and monitoring all activities related to medicines and treatments. In the afternoon, the session focused on sharing the experience of the implementation of Gatekeeper Use Case 7, for the management of chronic patients with polypharmacy, implemented in the Basque Country within the framework of the project. The session was attended by healthcare professionals from the Directorate General’s Systems Service, OSI Araba, OSI Bilbao-Basurto, OSI Donostialdea, and OSI Goierri-Urola Garaia, who shared their experience, with their participation in the pilot project, from different perspectives: technology selection and integration, intervention implementation, professional engagement, patient recruitment, the running-up of intervention activities as well as barriers and lessons learned from the study.

The Twinning Program and its organization were rated by the Region of Crete delegates as being very professional and of high quality. Representatives from both regions felt that this activity was a great experience and offered them the opportunity to share knowledge and identify areas for potential synergies.