The Basque Country, the world centre of health technologies in the last week of June
The HTAi and AAL Summit international conferences to be held in Bilbao between 22 and 29 June
Bilbao is to host the HTAi 2012 and AAL Summit international conferences during the last week of June. These two events will put the Basque Country in the world and national centre stage of health technologies during that period. The HTAi 2012 (www.htai2012.org) conference will be held from 22 to 27/06/2012, and, when it finishes and in the same venue - the Euskalduna Conference Centre in Bilbao-, the AAL Summit 2012 (www.aalsummit2012.org) will begin (from 27 to 29/06/2012)
The combinatinon of these two different events yet in a convergent field of application guarantees great appeal and wealth of contents of a level that would be difficult to find in other health-care conferences in Spain or Europe during 2012.
The decision to hold it in the Basque Country confirms the importance that the international community is giving to the Basque health strategy, a strategy that shows that the susainability of the health system given the pandemic of chronic disease and ageing, will not be possible without transforming the care model to make it capable of doing more and better with less.
The change of care model that is required to respond to the socio-health needs of a population with an increasingly longer life expectancy - and therefore, with a prevalence of chronic diseases that increase with greater age - requires a massive incorporation of new products and services for which the appropriate technology all ready exists, but in order to reach the existing potentila market, they need to be designed and implemented in a totally new way:
- taking into account the budgetary restrictions of the public health systems
- showing its cost-effectiveness very quickly and it is therefore necessary to achieve economies of scale early on
- combining a global architecture in its design that enables local adapations, by facilitating its integration with socio-health systems in different development levels
- easily incorporating the focus on the specific needs of the middle and end users The high level of technological development in the health arena in the Basque Country over recent years, together with the leadership of the Basque Country in the search and development of new, better and more sustainable forms to tackle chronic diseases and ageing, have convinced these international prestigious and renown organisations, HTAi and AAL, to hold these two important international health events with a marked technological profile in the BAC.
The ageing and chronic disease market will double in size over the coming 30 years.
According to recent demographic evolution data, the over 65s will double their relative weight in the European population in 2050, accounting for 28% of the European population by 2050, by 31.9% of the Spanish and 32.6% in the Basque Country compared to the current figure of 17.4%, 16.9% and 19.2%. The number of over 65s will triple worldwide.
It is important to point out that 85% of over 65s have at least 1 chronic condition, and as they get older, their number of conditions of this type increases, meaning that they become multi-condition and multi-medicated patients who account for 80% of health resources. This is a world trend, which is occuring in all developed countries and in the majority of developing countries.
At an event held in the Delegation of the Basque Government in Madrid to introduce the delegate Irune Agirrezabal, the Deputy Minister for Health Quality, Research and Innovation of the autonomous government, Olga Rivera, stressed that the response to this situation is not by means of austerity measures - which will reduce short-term budgetary expenditure, but it will generate a medium- and long-term rebound effect due to the worsening in the quality of care -, but rather by changing the care model to make it more efficient and raise the quality of care to the needs of the population.
Incorporating new products and technologies to the health system to transform its care model reduces the cost of treatment of chronic patients directly by more than 10%, avoiding hospital admissions and mortality.
As proof that a change in the care model is possible, she stressed that in the case of the Basque Country, that it is going to achieve direct efficiencies of more than 10% in the care of chronic patients - by stratifying its population, adapting the care to the risk level of each patient, by integrating care levels at home and care centres, increasing remote and virtual care, by practising prevention proactively - and underpinning the whole process with the incorporation of new products and services that increase the efficiency of their professionals and the care quality, thus being able to cover the growing needs of its population .
As Jose Asua, the Basque Government's Director of Assessment and Knowledge Management, pointed out, this health transformation process undertaken to achieve a more efficient and better system in those times of crisis is a system that takes the decisions to implement health services and technologies based on scientific evidence and cost-effectiveness, and that to ensure that the industry is going to be capable of offering the products and services that the health system needs, it is proactively involved in the co-development of those products and services capable to tackling the global needs of ageing and chronic illnesses.
The ageing and chronic disease market is a great commitment to business diversification that will drive more than 30% of the industry today and 40% of the advanced service sector.
The ageing and chronic disease market thus emerged as a great commitment to business diversification, capable of generating new jobs, business growth, scientific-technological development and competitiveness. .
As Rivera pointed out, the great opportunity is that 24% of the GDP is today concentrated in the over 65s, which means a spending capacity of 3000 billion euros (with B). "Imagine the market potential of a population that will have 41% of the GDP in its hands by 2050". The PCTI2015 Innovation, Technology and Science Plan of the Basque Government defines this as one of the 4 focal points that are going to be prioritised in the support of R&D&, resulting in a specific strategy known as KronikBasque.
Juan Goicolea, the Deputy Minister for Innovation and Technology of the Department of Industry, explained that this opporutnity has already been studied by companies working in the ICT and telecommunications sector, and that there are many industrial sectors that can benefit from this growing market if they decide to undertake it strategically. He went on to cite as examples:
- the equipment and machinery sector, which accounted for 9.1% of the industry value added of the Basque Country in 2009, the rubber and plastics (9.6% IVA), the electrial material and equipment (5.6%, IVA) with long international experience, some of whose companies have already started out in this direction and have machines for the health sector on the market.
- the information technologies sector, which accounts for 1.9 of the IVA and for the last four years, it has already set its sights on this sector as one of the strategic ones
- the Household sector (household appliances), which has a 4.7% IVA and some of whose companies already have eHealth pilot schemes underway, with a global diversification strategy focused on the health of the individual in their own home.
Rivera, Goicolea and Asua stressed the opportunity that the policies implemented by the Basque Country is for the health industry, in terms of creating jobs, competitiveness and international market based on the change of health model undertaken. This commitment has so far led to strong investment in R&D, accounting for over 35% of public investment that has managed to put the health indsutry on the agenda of the main industrial actions and the technological stakeholders. It is now time to reap the benefits and turn it into production, international market and employment. Rivera and Goicolea agree that in 15 years time, over 10% of the jobs in the Basque Country could be linked to the development of products and services for the world health market, which will also be high value added and qualified employment.
The Basque Government's Department for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism have a wide range of R&D support programmes, available for the companies that work in this sector in the Basque Country. These programmes have so far meant that for each two euros invested by the private sector, the Basque Government contributes one. That joint endeavour in private-public partnership has enabled the Basque Country has exceeded 2% of spending on R&D in terms of GDP, much higher than the 1.4% of the Spanish average and exceeding the EU-15 average for the first ime. This impetus now has the backing of financing (venture capital, guarantees and seed capital), along with the backing for entrepreneurship that will lead to a significant impact on the market.
The structures that will facilitate the development and implementation of the products and services capable of serving the international health market are starting up their operations: an Innovative Public Procurement Unit, a Demonstration Unit and a Compared Effectiveness unit have been set up, that along with the other technological, socio-health and health innovation and research structures, are turning the Basque Country into a Living Lab for ageing and chronic diseases. Proof of this is that it is one of the regions that aspire to be internationally recognsied as a benchmark region by the European Innovation Parneship (EIP) in Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA).
The firm commitment of the Basque Country in this direction will be rounded off by the empowerment of KronikGune - International Research Centre into Chronic Didsease -, Etorbizi - Foundation for Socio-Health Innovation and Research (PIIE) that will include a National Centre of Research into Ageing dedicated to basic research, by thus rounding off the existing socio-health, clinical, industrial and technological capacities.
HTAi and AAL Summit: show cases of the technologies that will meet the needs of ageing and chronic diseases in the future.
The companies that want to make use of this huge market potential will be meeting in Bilbao in June.
HTAi Bilbao 2012, 9th annual meeting of the HTAi, will focus on the Evaluation of Health Technologies with respect to Integrate Care for Patient-focused Systems. And the AAL Summit 2012 is focused on developing policies and market to deal with the needs of an increasingly ageing society, with the emphasis on improving the bridge between the socio-health needs and the ICT solutions.
These conferences mean that the seven days between 22 and 29 June will convert the Basque Country in the world showcase for health technologies, in their evalulation and their application. During these conferences, a wide programme of activities will be organised with forums, workshops and meetings between the professionals of the health and industry services, when the Osakidetza [Basque Health Service] will put to the companies its investment forecasts, its development directions and its most important projects; and there will also be an overview of the financial mechanisms and tools that the Basque Government's Department for Industry is going to use to help to foster and catalyse the relationship between the socio-health sector .