Briefing on CHRODIS stakeholder forum – Keynote speech by Prof Vanholder

On 19th February Prof Vanholder attended the Stakeholder Forum of the EU Joint Action CHRODIS as the key-note speaker on behalf of the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA). An EU Joint Action (JA) is a programme set up by the Commission to facilitate collaboration between Member States in a particular area – in this case chronic diseases and healthy ageing. CHRODIS is the biggest JA until now, not only in terms of budget, but also regarding the number of partners. JAs are co-financed by the Commission (under the EU health programme) and by the relevant Member States authorities in the field.

This event was the 2nd Stakeholder Forum of the CHRODIS programme, and the aim was to transmit the importance of the prevention and management of chronic diseases in the EU focusing the improvement of quality of life. Participants at the Forum included partners of the Joint Action and approximately 70 related stakeholders.

Prof Vanholder gave a presentation entitled “Next steps for driving changes in the prevention and management of chronic diseases across Europe”, prepared in part by the ECDA based on our collective call for an EU Strategy on Chronic Diseases. He began with the great individual, societal, and economical burden of chronic diseases, highlighting the need to invest much more in prevention (including research into prevention strategies) and to tackle chronic diseases according to its reality: a net of different conditions interconnected to each other. In this sense, and aligning with CHRODIS’ approach, Prof Vanholder emphasised the multimorbidity aspect and the need to adopt an integrated care approach to benefit the patient’s outcome and improve use of health resources. Please find the presentation attached.

Prof Vanholder received very good feedback from the audience, including from the coordinator of the Joint Action who – after congratulating him for his passionate talk: “this is music to our ears” – invited  Prof Vanholder and the ECDA  to get involved in CHRODIS. He certainly made an impression, given that all the questions of that round were addressed to him.

Prof Vanholder’s keynote speech was followed by the contribution of Commission, DG SANTE, Ms Eibhilin Manning, who presented the Commission’s work in the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing and its intertwining with CHRODIS.

The next round of interventions was for the CHRODIS Work Packages (WP) leaders to explain their progress:

  • WP4 deals with the (open) online platform for exchange of good practices in chronic disease policies. It will have three sections: 1) the Digital Library (containing all the information, without filters); 2) the Clearinghouse (containing only evaluated best practices); and 3) the Helpdesk (offering a more customised service)
  • WP5 will compile best practices on health promotion; they seem to be in the very early stage of development. An interesting contribution came from the audience: someone pointed out to the need to look into the psychological determinants for (not) adopting healthy lifestyles.
  • WP6 is charged with the best practices on multi-morbidity and is interesting to consider for the opportunities it represents for EKHA/ECDA involvement. They are operating in a four- step approach: 1st) identifying the targets (patients using a lot of healthcare resources), 2nd) reviewing the current practices on multimorbidity, 3rd) selecting the valuable practices, 4th) in order to introduce them in the teaching programmes. There will be a CHRODIS monographic issue covering the multimorbidity care situation in the 8 countries of study. The leader of the WP took the opportunity to call for experts in integrated/multimorbidity care in order to fulfil the tasks of the WP adequately. Interestingly, stakeholders from outside the EU (e.g. Canada) were present and expressed their interest in cooperating with CHRODIS.
  • WP7 deals with diabetes as a case study. The main deliverables will be recommendations for the design of National Diabetes Plans. The WP leaders highlighted the fact that the mere existence of a National plan does not assure a better care and that this fact was going to be taken into account when evaluating existing national schemes.

Opportunities and follow up

Explore the possibilities for an ECDA-CHRODIS collaboration (or EKHA-CHRODIS), maintain contact with the (new) coordinator of the Joint Action, Ms. Teresa Chavarría
Identify experts within EKHA network that could fit the profile for becoming experts in WP6, on multimorbidity and integrated care.