The Policy Learning Platform received a helpdesk request to provide knowledge and good practices on the topic of cross-border healthcare. Our Thematic Experts, Arnault Morisson and Marc Pattinson provided a list of various resources that you can explore below.

Interreg Europe projects related to healthcare

Eight Interreg Europe projects focus on research and innovation policies related to healthcare, namely:

  • Healthy ageing is one of the main topics covered: EU_SHAFE focuses on smart and health age-friendly environments, and INNOVASPA partners exchange on innovative solutions through thermal spa services. The challenge of wasteful spending is instead the main objective of HELIUM, Health Innovation Experimental Landscape through Policy Improvement, and partially of HOCARE, whose focus is on improving healthy ageing and reduce wasteful spending by enabling users, businesses, research actors/universities and public authorities work together to find solutions to complex challenges through quadruple helix cooperation.
  • Three more projects deal more specifically to healthcare policies related to the promotion of products and services: this is the case of INTENCIVE, INnovation and Technology ENhancing Customer OrIented Health SerVicEs; ITHACA, InnovaTion in Health And Care for All, promoting smarter policies to generate product and service innovations, and TITTAN, Network for Technology, Innovation and Translation in Ageing. One last project, Medtech4Europe, aims to optimise the impact of public policies in favour of research and innovation facilities in the field of medical technologies, aiming to leverage on interregional research opportunities to generate product innovations in medical technologies and reduce healthcare costs.

Read more about Interreg Europe projects and good practices to promote innovation in healthcare

Good Practices from Interreg Europe projects

In HELIUM, the good practice CrossCare deals with cross- border healthcare. CrossCare is a programme that provides funding and support services for SMEs and entrepreneurs to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative health products and services. The programme involves 6 living labs dedicated to health in the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium. For SMEs and entrepreneurs, it offers the opportunity for interregional learning and understanding the end-users’ needs of two neighbouring countries. Through this interregional component, the programme aims thus to accelerate commercialisation and SMEs’ internationalisation. This is a good example showing that living labs and SMEs from different countries can collaborate efficiently on complex health projects. The good practice illustrates living labs and SMEs across different regions and countries. As shown in the good practice, living labs for innovation in health care can promote innovation and cross-border collaboration (Read more about it here).

Another good practice related to healthcare is INNOSASUN from TITTAN. INNOSASUN is a platform to facilitate collaboration and interactions between actors in the Basque Public Health System and the private sector. The platform offers support through different services such as advisory services, testbed, living lab, to identify, design, implement, co-develop, and validate innovation projects in the healthcare sector. INNOSASUN identifies the challenges arising in the Basque Public Health System in order to find potential solutions from the private sector.

Digital Innovation Hubs in healthcare can also promote cross-border collaboration in healthcare. From Medtech4Europe, DIH-HERO is a platform that connects Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) in healthcare robotics, namely involving a network 17 core partners spreading across 11 pan-European countries. The network facilitates collaboration for the joint development of products and services and the exchange of knowledge in healthcare robotics throughout the value chain.

DIH-HERO focuses on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for instance, with travel vouchers for cross-border activities and calls for cross-border collaboration. Moreover, DIH-HERO launched a call to respond to COVID-19 crisis with healthcare robotics. The good practice shows that such DIH networks can accelerate innovation in high-tech and frontier sectors through cross-border collaboration and having the flexibility to open calls to address societal challenges. Moreover, such initiatives can reduce European fragmentation and engage in European standardisation for robotics in healthcare, including ethical, legal, and societal issues.

Policy Insights 3. Other interesting interregional initiatives

The Vanguard Initiative (VI) is an initiative of European regions seeking to influence the European political agenda. The initiative's vision is that interregional collaboration to develop new, innovative value chains is essential to accelerate the uptake of innovative technologies and thereby provide solutions to the societal challenges facing European regions. 

VI has developed a methodology (learn - connect - demonstrate - commercialise) to facilitate and accelerate this type of collaboration. New pilot projects were started in 2021, including one with the theme “Smart health” that is coordinated by Flanders, East Netherlands, and Limburg (NL). 

One of the key aims within the pilot project “Smart health” (and other VI pilots) is to support the emergence of demo cases. In this project there are three demo cases under development. For each demo case, there is a region that takes the lead role and attracts other partner regions to explore the scope for interregional cooperation (with policy makers, innovation stakeholders and businesses) and then draw up a business plan and involve relevant actors. Read about some examples of the interregional cooperation actions.

Finally, the Smart health partners are actively seeking to identify new regional partners that are committed to supporting the implementation of demo cases in the health sector. If you are interested, please contact [email protected]

Other Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform activities

We offer two services that might be of interest to respond to policy challenges related to cross-border healthcare, the matchmaking sessions and the peer reviews:

  • Matchmaking sessions are two-hour meetings, online or face-to-face. They are designed to bring together a group of policymakers having the expertise and competence to discuss your particular question. For two hours, they are at your disposal to discuss your challenge and offer solutions.
  • Peer-reviews are two-day meetings, online or face-to-face, involving an international team of experts and peers. Based on your specific needs and challenges, peers selected carefully on the basis of targeted calls among the community members, share their expertise for your benefit. After a thorough analysis of your policy context, they provide targeted feedback and offer concrete solutions to you and your stakeholders.

For instance, the Policy Learning Platform organised an online peer review on the topic of promoting economic diversification and attract manufacturing industries in the health sector with the City of Szombathely, Hungary, on 29-30 June 2021. The host region, the city of Szombathely with the support from Pannon Business Network (PBN), is currently designing its economic development strategy—Szombathely 2030. The host region aims to promote economic diversification in the health sector and wanted to explore with the peers the following policy challenges: 1) What are policies and initiatives to attract manufacturing industries in the health sector. 2) What are policies and initiatives for skills, research, university-industry collaboration to promote the health sector, and 3) what EU funding opportunities to promote the health sector are available.

In this brochure you can discover opinions of our beneficiaries about our services, including matchmakings and peer reviews.

Image credit: twenty20photos from envatoelements