Thirty-three organisations from fifteen countries have come together, with a common goal: to boost innovation in the healthcare sector
To reach this objective, Procure4Health, funded by the European Union through the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA), and coordinated by the Andalusian Healthcare Service (Spain), will promote activities ranging from knowledge sharing and capacity building to networking and matchmaking among its members. Furthermore, the community aims to apply a demand-driven approach based on the identification of common needs that require innovative solutions. The learnings from the activities will be shared with the relevant policymakers at European and national level to improve current innovation procurement policies. The community will be open very soon to new members to benefit from its value.
The focus of the event was to understand European health and social organisations support needs to untap the potential of innovation procurement and to create a clear roadmap for the Procure4Health community. Accounting for over 14% of GDP, EU public procurement could create a huge market for innovative products and services, but its potential in this area remains underutilised. Furthermore, adopting innovative solutions can improve public services for citizens. Specifically in the healthcare sector, procurement of innovation could ultimately lead to better healthcare for patients, and more efficiency for current healthcare systems, saving costs and improving healthcare outcomes.
The appropriate environment for public & private procurers
Gonzalo Balbontin Casillas, managing director of Andalusian Public Foundation Progreso and Salud, entity supporting the Andalusian Healthcare Service in the project implementation, opened the session by highlighting the strategic importance of the project regionally. His expectations for the two days were to “set the basis for our community”- he explained. Carlos Bautista Ojeda, the local authority of the Andalusian Ministry of Health and former member of the European Parliament, added “Procure for Health aims to provide the appropriate environment for public and private procurers to use public procurement of innovation”. Finally, Javier Montero, director of the Office for Public Procurement of Innovation at Public Foundation Progreso and Salud, welcomed the participants in Málaga and emphasized the urgency to make progress on this matter.
The European Commission continues to support innovation in healthcare as a solution for the challenges society will face in the future, especially considering that most healthcare spending is public. Carmen Laplaza Santos, Head of Unit “Health Innovations & Ecosystems” in the People Directorate of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, also participated in the meeting. “Healthcare provision needs to be sustainable, also from an environmental perspective, and certainly more resilient to emergency events. Innovation procurement needs to be fostered. For that, skills need to be built” – she explained.
Building the largest European Community of procurers of innovation in the healthcare sector requires strong connections with existing initiatives. Elisa Frenz, Health Proc. Europe Association CEO, and Louis Potel, EHPPA Vice-President, were present during the event. The aim was to explore synergies with the online Healthcare Procurement Community Platform created during the 1st Pan-European Hospital & Healthcare Procurement Summit, which both organisations have co-organised. Ensuring the sustainability of the community is a top priority for Procure4Health.
The community designed by procurers for procurers
Two intensive work days during the 10th and 11th of October have resulted in insightful discussion and the co-design of the activities that will be offered to its members. “Procure4Health is a community designed by procurers for procurers” – describes Carlos Larrañeta, Procure4Health coordinator – “At its core are 19 procurers who share a common interest and will support the execution of the activities”.