Nard Schreurs: The next phase of Nordic Health 2030 shall call for action and renew the social pact

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Prior to the launch of the second phase of Nordic Health 2030, Editor talked to Nard Schreurs, EHiN CEO. He manages EHiN, one of the most significant digital health hubs and conferences in Europe. Nard Schreurs has also taken part in the first phase of Nordic Health 2030.

As the EHiN CEO, you run the largest E-health conference in Norway. It is also one of the most important events in the Nordic digital health. How would you describe the current state of Nordic cooperation in this area?

We see that the Nordics are amongst the world’s most digitized areas.  Both the citizens and the public services are very much ahead in technological development. That is why it is hard to understand that the cooperation between the Nordic countries on digital health is so far behind. We have the same values in our welfare states, which we want to continue in a fully digitalised world. However, the cooperation on this is still missing clear political leadership and depends on loosely defined coincidental networks which are not connected.

In what areas closer Nordic cooperation can help, in your opinion?

We have very much the same challenges in healthcare. People getting older, growing numbers in cancer, dementia and mental health, to name some. With less people assigned in healthcare, and less money compared to the growing expectations and possibilities, we need to be clever. Well, the first thing to to if you want to be clever is to cooperate and learn from each other. Areas as Artificial intelligence, security in a more mobile healthcare system, home care and moving the hospital to our living rooms, genomics, research and personalized health will all give us a strengthened stand.

You took part in Nordic Health 2030 process. In your view, what was the most important outcome of Nordic Health 2030?

There were many constructive dialogues, the process was really interesting. The best was not knowing where we were going to. Too many work groups and processes have a prefab outcome, the room for real creativity and cocreation is too small. In the Nordic process we could really find the way while we were moving. In the end, we came to a clear vision on moving from a “sick care system” to a preventive, self-managing system to avoid illness and give citizens tools for a better life.

We are now embarking on the second stage of Nordic Health 2030. What is the most important outcome we should aim at? Why is it important for you?

Even though there was a call for action in the last process, the outcome was noncommittal. Nobody I have been talking with disagreed with the outcomes, but it has not changed the politics. We see more budget cuts on preventive measures, even in a relatively rich country such as Norway. In a time of economic recession as we see now, we need more dedication to push the transformation in health care, not put innovation on hold. So I think the next phase of the Nordic Health 2030 should look to concrete call for action, political pressure and a renewed social pact between the stakeholders in society to build a Nordic model for health care, based on values such as trust and equality.