Reference site2018-08-03T14:09:29+00:00

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.

Basque Country’s candidacy 

In 2016, the Basque Country submitted an application to become a Reference Site. The proposal, led by Basque Government Health Department, involves an alliance of partners including the Basque Government (Health and Employment and Social Policy Departments); the Provincial Council of Bizkaia; Osakidetza, the Basque national health service; the University of Deusto; the University of the Basque Country; Fundación Matia; TECNALIA; IK4; Corporación Mondragón; and Kronikgune, as the Basque proposal co-ordinator.

A total of 74 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 eight Reference Sites to have achieved the four stars, the highest rating. The award was delivered in Brussels at the beginning of December 2016, during an official 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 healthcare model is based on prevention and health promotion, patients’ empowerment and adherence to treatment; as well as contributing to enhanced integrated healthcare. The aim of the Basque healthcare model is to improve healthcare focused on the patient through better coordination and continuity of care among service levels while adapting care to patients’ needs.

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: 

Good Practice 1: Integrated Care Strategy

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 awarded with three stars. 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 of the Good Practice are:

  • the creation of Integrated Health Organisations (IHO);
  • integrating communication systems;
  • using risk stratification tools and healthcare plans based on the needs of complex patients;
  • introducing new nursing roles;
  • social-health coordination;
  • patient’s empowerment and self-care plan; and
  • integrated action plans targeted at different groups/population.

Good Practice 2: The Basque Country eHealth strategy

This e-Health strategy supports integrated healthcare to address ageing, chronicity and dependency in the Basque Country. This strategy includes:

  • Osarean – this model provides healthcare focused on prevention, follow-up and health advice.
  • Osabide Global – is a programme which provides the patient with integral information and where unified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are stored.
  • Osanaia – facilitates: the management of care provided by the nursing department; and setting up and managing personalised nursing care plans; as well as changing plans according to patient’s needs.
  • Presbide – electronic prescription service provided by a single system for both primary and specialist healthcare.

Good Practice 3: Euskadi Lagunkoia

Euskadi Lagunkoia is an initiative promoted by the Basque Government Department of Employment and Social Policies and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, launched with the support of Fundación Matia and the University of Deusto. This initiative intends to encourage the participation of the elderly and all citizens in general to improve Basque neighbourhoods, town and cities to achieve friendly environments for the elderly, reorganising structures and services to make them accessible and adapt them to the different needs and skills of individuals.

The aims of this initiative are:

  • make the most of elderly people’s potential in the life of the Basque Country towns and villages to generate well-being;
  • create and foster community participation processes;
  • create a network of friendly initiatives in the Basque Country; and
  • facilitate the introduction of changes to environments to improve the quality of life of its citizens.