Beyond Silos in Care - Seven European Regions Take a Step Towards Better Integration of Care Services for Older People

Belfast /Badalona/Bonn, 10 February 2014. As the BeyondSilos project is launched Sean Donaghy, Regional Director of eHealth and External Collaboration in Northern Ireland commented “The Health and Social Care Board are pleased to be leading on this exciting project. This is the next step in our journey to better co-ordination of health and social care for older people in Northern Ireland. The demand for more integrated care has been growing steadily over the past few years, not only here but in other European regions as well and we look forward to working with our partners to address this”. Patients and service clients are taking increasingly active roles in their own care and Health & Social Care needs to do more to support coordination across different providers. From a policy perspective, this is also an important part of improving care and containing cost. Albeit services co-operating across the usual silos of social care, healthcare and informal support have remained an exception until today, there are now some real-life examples that have moved towards integration and can serve as learning examples for others. While this is encouraging, much remains to be done to make seamless care a reality for Europe’s patients and service clients.
Sean Donaghy and the HSCB lead the BeyondSilos initiative, an EU co-funded pilot project that allows providers in seven European regions to implement and pilot integrated care services. Up to 10,000 people in Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany are expected to receive improved services by 2015. The services will be piloted and evaluated for a period of two years. A key role in the services will be played by different ICT tools (from home health monitoring to shared data records) that will be utilised to enable better cooperation between care professionals, family members and those receiving care. The BeyondSilos pilot will capitalise on integrated care models and pathways that have their origin in another big European initiative launched last year: the SmartCare pilot. Both projects will collaborate closely and the partners in BeyondSilos will be able to learn from experiences gained in SmartCare to make the next step towards full integration of social and healthcare services
“Both the opportunity to continue our activities in the area of integrated care and to know that we are part of a larger group that will share the experience with us make BeyondSilos an important project for us””, says Sean Donaghy. He continues: “Our expectations are high. A pilot period of two years and the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the effects on our users, the providers and the overall system will allow us to build services with a lasting positive impact.”

A European perspective
Through its co-funding of the BeyondSilos project, the European Commission continues its successful involvement in the area of integrated care that began in 2007 with projects such as DREAMING, CommonWell , INDEPENDENT and HOME SWEET HOME. Further to BeyondSilos and the SmartCare pilot, another project called CareWell will commence in parallel, dealing with ICT-supported integration between different stakeholders within the health domain. Taken together there are now more than 30 regions across Europe engaged in integrated service provision based on pilot activities commenced in an EU-funded project.

Key facts
BeyondSilos began this month with a kick-off meeting of all partners in Badalona, Spain and is expected to run until February 2017. The project has a total volume of 5.47 m €, half of which is co-funded by the European Commission under the framework of its Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP, grant agreement no. 621069). The project brings together 13 partners, including service providers, IT providers, researchers and consultants. Integrated services will be implemented and piloted in the regions of Northern Ireland, Sofia in Bulgaria, Badalona and Valencia in Spain, Campania in Italy, Amadora in Portugal and the Kinzigtal in Germany. The pilot sites will follow a common programme for service development and implementation that specifically takes into account the requirements of users and care professionals, of service providers and business experts. An evaluation programme for the pilots will be developed by the Odense University Hospital. This will be based on the MAST methodology for the evaluation of complex interventions already successfully adopted in previous EU funded projects. With a view to the development of economically viable service models, the pilot regions will be supported by project partner empirica with a dedicated approach for business case modelling.

More information and contact
For more information on the BeyondSilos project as well as interview contacts please get in touch with

 

For press and other communication work we offer extended information packages containing more detailed descriptions of the project’s purpose and the services to be piloted in the different regions.
For more information on the SmartCare pilot please visit www.pilotsmartcare.eu