NAME: Reference Sites.

Reference Sites (RSS) are regions, cities, organisations or hospitals which implement an integral innovative approach for the development, implementation and escalation of innovative practices for active and healthy ageing. This is a recognition granted by the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) of the European Commission (EC).

EIP on AHA is a pilot initiative of the EC aimed at increasing the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020. In addition, the Association intends to: improve health and quality of life; increase sustainability of healthcare systems, as well as boosting European competitiveness.

RSS shall provide solid evidence of their impact on the areas where they have been implemented or generated Good Practices, using robust indicators for assessment. Likewise, they must demonstrate the innovative components of their care model or healthcare system that could serve as an example of Good Practices for other European regions.

Reference Sites undertake to actively participate in the deployment and ensure replicability of their Good Practices in other regions that express an interest.

Department leds the Basque Reference Site. The Site is made up of a coalition of partners that include the Basque Health Department and the Department for Employment and Social Policy (representing the Basque Government); Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Araba Provincial Councils; Osakidetza; the Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research – BIOEF; Healthcare Research Institutes Biodonostia, Biocruces Bizkaia and Bioaraba; the Kronikgune Institute for Health Service Research; the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), the University of Deusto; Euskampus; Matía Foundation; TECNALIA; IK4; Mondragón Corporation; SSI Group; the Basque Health Cluster and Adinberri. Kronikgune was the coordinator of the Basque proposal.

A total of 102 European organisations submitted applications.

Regions, organisations and their Good Practices were evaluated and classified according to the results of a self-assessment and a peer-review exercise. Euskadi is one of six Reference Sites to have achieved the four stars, the highest rating and the “Seal of Excellence” as a Reference Site. the European Commission has recognized the Basque Country for its outstanding work fostering regional innovation and active and healthy ageing, enhancing the quality of life or ageing populationimproving the provision of healthcare and social care services, and fostering economic growth and a competitiveness increase in the region. The award was delivered in Aarhus (Denmarc) in September 2019, during the ceremony under the umbrella of the “European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing”.

To tackle the challenge of chronicity, ageing and dependency, the Basque Country has unfolded a global approach where all stakeholders play a significant role. The Basque Country has integrated strategies to move forward in innovation, based on a “quadruple helix” model where are included agents from industry, civil society, academia and government authorities on a regional and local level. The Commission also pointed out that the Basque Country has shown excellence in the development, adoption and scaling-up of innovative practices, which are in line with the strategic objectives of the EIP on AHA, and can serve as an example to other European regions.

The Basque Country has set out a framework for the transfer of innovation knowledge between sectors. Work is in progress to address sustainability and foster innovation in healthcare, promote technological areas related to health with higher capacity for development, and opportunities for economic growth and employment with the creation of new markets. The document submitted includes the Basque Government strategic vision towards the challenge of ageing, chronicity and dependency (Healthcare Plan 2013-2020, the Basque Ageing strategy 2015-2020, the Health Department strategic lines; Digital Agenda and others) which has provided dedicated backup, distributed leadership as well as created capabilities in organisations to transform the healthcare and social care system in the Basque Country. Moreover, it reflects European commitment through participation in multiple European projects and networks of collaboration in different sectors.

Activities cover all pillars of the European strategy reflected in EIP on AHA. As well as assessment of global strategies developed in the Basque Country, three Good Practices have been presented: 

Integrated care is a key factor for the Basque healthcare strategy, where work has been underway for several years. In fact, it was presented as good practice in 2013 and 2016. Since then, the Basque Country has continued to work in this direction playing an active and committed role, and integrated care has continued to develop and make progress with the aim of improving health and quality of life of patients and citizens of the Basque Country, carrying out prevention action, fostering empowerment of patients and creating personalised plans for patients.

This strategy has created an integrated care model focused on people and patients capable of providing continuity of care both at health and social care levels. They have implemented new structures, processes and tools that have allowed us to meet the health needs of patients in the Basque Country, with a high degree of efficacy, efficiency and coordination between healthcare professionals and social workers.

Key components are:

  • Integrated Care Organizations.
  • Communication systems.
  • Risk stratification.
  • New nurses´ roles.
  • Patient empowerment.
  • Integrated pathways, including mental health.
  • Health, social and community coordination.

2020 Internationalisation Framework Strategy , Strategic Plan of governance and innovation 2020  and 2020 Digital Agenda promote the digital transformation, including health and care. Digital skills development is another priority. Osakidetza’s digital transformation supports the use of ICTs in the health service, as a key enabler to provide better quality, more accessible and safer service. ICTs facilitate healthcare integration, collaboration between professionals and citizen empowerment.
Main digital tools, 100% deployed are:

  • Osarean, e-health call center.
  • Osabide Global, unified Electronic Health Record, including an Integral Program Manager (GIP).
  • Osanaia, nursing care.
  • Presbide, e-Prescription.
  • Personal Health Folder, citizen access to their medical information.
  •  Osabide Integra, access from social-care.
  • Risk stratification.
  • Osakidetza Apps.
  • Jakinsarea, professional training platform.

It is a proactive strategy to make living spaces more Age-friendly. Included in the Basque Active Ageing Strategy 2015-2020 , it enhances participation of citizens and public, private and social sectors. It is based on the World Health Organization initiative (WHO selected Euskadi Lagunkoia as a case study). It promotes the Age-friendly movement in villages, communities and cities around Basque Country. It is deployed at local level by town councils, associations, organizations, and citizens, as well as other Departments of the Basque Government.
The priorities of the program are:

  • Consolidation, networking and exchange of good practices
  • Evaluation the impact
  • Participation among municipalities
  • Promotion of Age-Friendliness in the area of health