The BSPC Working Group on Innovation and Health Care was launched by the 22 BSPC in Pärnu on 27 August 2013. Olaug Bollestad, Norway, was Chair of the WG (since March 2014) and Wolfgang Waldmüller, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was vice Chair. Between the launch of the WG and the appointment of Olaug Bollestad as WG Chair, Raimonds Vējonis was WG Chair until his inauguration as Defense Minister of the Republic of Latvia and later-on President of Latvia.
The overarching objective of the Working Group was to elaborate political positions and recommendations pertaining to innovation in health care systems and services and innovation in social welfare systems and services, with focus on elderly people. The Working Group and its members aimed to raise the political attention on innovation in social and health care and contribute to the exchange of knowledge and best practices within its area of responsibility. For this purpose, the Working Group established and maintained contacts with relevant institutions, organizations and other actors in the Baltic Sea Region.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social and Health Care (WG ISHC) held its inaugural meeting in Riga on 4 November. The meeting was led by the WG Chairman Raimonds Vejonis. The meeting appointed Olaug Bollestad, Norway, and Wolfgang Waldmüller, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as vice Chairmen. An expert presentation on “Innovation in Social and Health Care – An Ecosystems Approach” was delivered by Thomas Karopka, Project Manager of ScanBalt HealthPort. The presentation can be retrieved from “Presentations” under “Related Information”. The meeting was primarily devoted to a reconfirmation of the WG mandate and deliberations over its scope of work, priorities and mode of work.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social and Health Care held its second meeting in Tromsö on 27-28 March. The meeting unanimously elected Ms Olaug Bollestad, Norway, to succeed Raimonds Vejonis as Chair of the WG, sine Vejonins was appointed Minister of Defence of Latvia in January 2014. An opening expert presentation was provided by Ms Pille Kink from the Estonian E-Health Foundation. After the meeting, the WG made a study visit at the Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine, where briefings were given on coordinated care and demographic challenges in rural areas, telemedicine innovation and implementation, flexible e-learning in health care, homecare and prevention, and barriers and legal aspects of cross border telemedicine.
The BPSC Working Group on Innovation in Social and Health Care convened its third meeting in Birstonas, Lithuania, on 19-20 June 2014. The meeting itself was preceded by an extensive study tour of the balneological and rehabilitational resort of Birstonas, with several sanatoriums and a wide range of high-quality recreational, rehabilitational and medical services (see www.visitbirstonas.lt). The WG meeting received initial greetings from the Mayor of Birstonas, Ms Nijole Dirginciene, who is also President of the Lithuanian Association of Resorts. Her introduction was followed by a presentation on The Role of Resorts in the Baltic Health Tourism Sector by Ms Jurgita Kazlauskiene, Vice President of the European Spas Association. The WG meeting primarily engaged in deliberations over the WG Mid-Way Report, to be presented to the 23rd BSPC in Olsztyn on 24-26 August 2014, and its first set of Political Recommendations. The WG agreed on a draft report, to be revised and then submitted to the 23rd BPSC.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social- and Healthcare held its fourth meeting in Copenhagen on 13-14 November 2014. The meeting itself was preceded by a visit to Steno Diabetes Centre with the focus on lifestyle-related diseases / diabetes and innovation. Steno Centre is a world-leading institution within diabetes care and prevention. It is owned by Novo Nordisk AS and is a non-profit organisation working in partnerships with the Danish healthcare system. The Working Group meeting started with a presentation by Vincent Giele, Hospital Solutions Director for Northeast Europe in Medtronic. Medtronic is the world’s largest medical technology company, offering innovative therapies to fulfil a mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life. Their medical therapies treat cardiac and vascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. The second expert presentation was given by former Swedish minister, Bo Könberg, on his report on closer healthcare cooperation in the Nordic countries over the next 5-10 years. The report was submitted on 11 June 2014 and it contains 14 proposals.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social- and Healthcare also had a study trip to the HUNT research institution on 5-6 March 2015. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (The HUNT Study) is one of the largest health studies ever performed. It is a unique database of personal and family medical histories collected during three intensive studies. The fundamental strategy is to earn and maintain the confidence of the population we work in and with as is necessary for any successful population study. This strategy has been successful and has resulted in extraordinarily high participation rates. There is enthusiastic public and political support for HUNT and for the HUNT Research Centre. This has created a good basis for further health surveys in the county and an excellent research environment. The WG also visited Levanger municipality to hear about the municipal sector’s plan for health and welfare services, the Municipal Master Plan as a strategic tool to promote public health and health equity, and the new Norwegian Competence Centre for Arts and Health. Levanger aims to include the health perspective in all local policies.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social- and Healthcare held its fifth meeting in Tampere on 16-17 March 2015. The meeting itself was preceded by a study tour of the Vaccine Research Centre and the Tampere University Central Hospital. The Working Group was briefed by Auli Pölönen, Clinical Nutritionist at Pirkanmaa Hospital District, on the Prevention of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases. The second briefing was given by Maarit Varjonen-Toivonen, Chief Physician at the Centre of General Practice in Pirkanmaa Hospital District, on electronic reporting linked to Operations Planning & Budgeting on the Communal Level. At Tampere University Hospital the WG members received a briefing on the hospital and were then informed about diabetes research and vaccine development against type 1 diabetes by Vesna Blaževi?, Head of Laboratory, and Heikki Hyöty, Professor at Tampere University Hospital.
The BSPC Working Group on Innovation in Social- and Healthcare held its sixth meeting on the Åland Islands on 11-12 June 2015. The meeting itself was preceded by a study tour of Healthcare Clinic Medimar and Åland Central Hospital. The Working Group was briefed by MD Mathias Grunér, CEO Bimelix, on the Bimelix Laboratory and the Medimar Borrelia Clinic. Bimelix Biomedical Laboratory is based in Åland and provides laboratory services in microbiology for healthcare in Finland and other Nordic countries. Most importantly, it possesses unique expertise in tick-related diseases and specialises in Lyme disease. Prof. Dag Nyman from Medimar followed up with a presentation on lyme borreliosis. It is the most common vector-borne infectious disease in northern Europe. At the Åland Central Hospital MD Katarina Dahlman spoke about challenges with a hospital on a small island. The hospital is responsible for all public healthcare on the Åland Islands. Doctor of Infections, Marika Nordberg, followed with a presentation on tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) on the Åland Islands. Associate Professor of Surgery, Mr Haile Mahteme, shared his thoughts with the WG members on why he believes health professionals on Åland care more about their patients’ wellbeing than elsewhere. Finally, the Åland Minister for Health, Ms Carina Aaltonen, spoke about Public Health on the island.
The Working Group presented its Final Report at the 24th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference on 30 August – 1 September 2015 in Rostock.
The Points of Contact for the Working Group:
Julie Helmersberg Brevik
Phone +47 9808 6137
Landtag Mecklenburg-Vorpommern / Administration
+49 385 525 1533