The concept of integrated healthcare is becoming increasingly important when defining integrated health and social services which meet the needs of the public. The 19th edition of the International Conference on Integrated Care was held in San Sebastian on 1-3 April. It is one of the leading events on integrated care at the international level.
With a three-day program and 11 concurrent themes on integrated care, the congress was a perfect opportunity for the exchange of experiences across the whole sector. Digital health was also on the agenda at the congress, along with talks on new healthcare models, establishing evaluation mechanisms, the empowerment of the individual and the formulation of health policies, among others.
During the congress’ opening plenary, several key figures from the sector stressed the need for socio-health coordination between the different levels of care, as being fundamental to providing healthcare aimed at the individual. For this reason the congress chose a trainera as its symbol, a Basque rowing boat which symbolizes a collective, coordinated effort. The effect on health, continuity of care, improvements in the user’s experience, and the coordination between primary care and hospital teams are some of the key issues which were dealt with during the different sessions and talks.
The CONNECARE and SUSTAIN (H2020 program) projects were of particular interest on the first day of the congress. The former, coordinated by the EURECAT technological centre, aims to provide tools to define a therapeutic and consensual monitoring plan involving primary and hospital care. It is aimed at chronic patients who are entering a stage in which their health is deteriorating or who are scheduled for treatment; The latter is aimed at improving the provision of services for the elderly, with a focus on multiple social and health needs. Catalan health centres and professional bodies participate in both projects. These include: Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya (AQUAS), the Hospital Universitari de Santa Maria and Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova, and the Hospital Santa Creu de Vic – Osona. Representatives of the Programa de Prevenció i Atenció a la Cronicitat de Catalunya (PPAC) and the Pla Interdepartamental d’Atenció i Interacció Social i Sanitària (PIAISS) also participated in the presentations.
The second day began with a session on real world data, presenting experiences which compare the knowledge and protocols included in clinical handbooks with what happens in real life. In the case of protocols to be followed when dealing with stroke patients, a graphical comparison was made of various care pathways relating to the different methods and time used in many real cases. These show how the reality can be very different from the protocols, thus providing highly valuable information on how to improve responses and the resources required. A presentation was also given on the SCIROCCO project, showing results regarding the implementation of eHealth-based services in Europe; another presentation dealt with the ATC @ Scale project, which seeks to identify, transfer and scale up best practices on the coordination of services and telehealth throughout Europe, presenting initiatives in Scotland and Catalonia, led by the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and AQUAS.
The final day of the congress placed a special emphasis on digital health issues, a theme which was supported by Tunstall during the three days the congress lasted. Speakers from Belgium presented the INTEGREO project which focuses on health via the shared creation and design of a digital platform through which to exchange data. The Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid presented a range of tools for improving results in integrated healthcare through architectures for the generation of large datasets based on evidence and process mining to monitor patient flows within the system.
Once again a meeting involving professionals from the integrated care sector has facilitated the exchange of knowledge which will prove invaluable in the future. Coordination between participants, the formulation of policies which integrate social and healthcare services, a holistic approach to treating patients and the integration of IT systems are some of the key aspects which are needed to achieve a truly integrated healthcare model.
Our thanks once again to the International Foundation for Integrated Care for providing us with such a valuable program featuring such a wide range of speakers and content. More information on the presentations can be found at the following link.
We look forward to seeing you at the 20th edition of the ICIC, in Šibenik (Croatia), from 27-29 April 2020!
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