The main aim of this action is to give impetus to the essential Research and Development (R&D)  effort necessary to drive cost containment in healthcare while maintaining and improving the quality of care.

An EU R&D roadmap has been designed around the topic of cost containment and quality of care. But a number of challenges will have to be overcome before this roadmap can be effectively realized. Current R&D efforts into cost containment and maintaining quality of care are fragmented, mono-disciplinary and uncoordinated. There is limited or no interaction between the vital scientific disciplines that include medical and care sciences, health economy, health policy, medical technology, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and communication sciences. While there is research into innovative care models, these are often not designed to fit a care system on a macro level, resulting in partial solutions, tested in small scale situations that do not provide the evidence necessary for larger scale implementation.

 

A complete model would combine an innovative care concept with the organizational, cultural, financial, technical and legal aspects necessary to implement the model on a large scale in a real life setting. Due to the fragmented nature of care system related research, this is however not the case. As a result, many innovative ideas are never tested on a macro level and can therefore not provide the evidence base necessary to create suitable interest amongst politicians and reimbursers and care providers to drive the practical implementation of these innovative care models. Moreover, most R&D is focused on a specific part of the health care sector, not taking into consideration the complexity of the highly fragmented organization of health care. This slows down the uptake of successful innovations by the health care sector. The presented Action should guide and stimulate the integration and collaboration between the scientific and technological parties involved in health care related cost containment and quality research. It sets out to tackle these challenges by:

  1. Unifying and directing the fragmented mono-disciplinary and uncoordinated ongoing research efforts;
  2. Working towards the development of new, innovative care systems that can be tested on amacro level;
  3. Defining the parameters necessary to perform and evaluate large scale implementation studies that will provide an adequate evidence base for new innovative care models;
  4. Gathering the critical scientific mass necessary to drive ongoing research towards large scale implementation studies and subsequent uptake by stakeholders like policy makers, care managers and politicians.
  5. Promoting the importance of R&D into cost containment and quality of care to ensure it is reflected in future calls for proposals, for instance in the Horizon 2020 (H2020) program.

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