The NHS European Office, with the AHSN Forum, organised a study visit on 17-18 December 2012 to the region of Southern Denmark to see first-hand the impressive work of the Welfare Tech Network.
Welfare Tech is a regional public-private collaboration between hospitals, universities, local authorities and business to deliver innovation and product development in healthcare, homecare and social services.
The two-day study looked at how Welfare Tech partners work to develop, test and implement new products, methods and systems for the delivery of health and social care. It also examined how the region developed itself as a national entry point and test bed for international companies who want to enter the Danish and European market.
Participants met and learnt from all key members of the partnership. Our Welfare Tech hosts also expressed interest in the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with UK colleagues and to enable a knowledge exchange to support future development - locally, regionally and nationally.
Our Danish hosts suggested some key learning for the English networks:
Inclusivity - Whole system change can only be realised by engaging all voices across the sector; with lines of sight needed from discovery science to patient, with all players involved
Co-production - Genuine collaboration is needed between public and private interests, between ministries, between municipality, health and social care and business to define priorities and develop responses
Entrepreneurialism - Making space for sectors to connect and to create best practice.
Perhaps the biggest lesson from Denmark is the strategic grasp that the system turns on qualified demand, the shared language of business and health and social care.
Presentations from the event can be viewed here.