Shepherding the healthcare transition

March 2023 Sector - Health & Wellbeing

An update on our work in the healthcare ecosystem

Healthcare has traditional been an important center of gravity in our work. This shouldn't be  a surprise as the healthcare system has been playing the role of 'canary in the coal mine' in the broad societal transition that is currently playing out. It's a multidimensional pressure point upon which converge changes in institutions, environment, values, demography, labour market, technology, built environment, etc.

The healthcare transition plays out in a complex forcefield. There are powerful drivers toward streamlining and efficiency. And there is a countermovement that wants to re-humanise healthcare. In between there are transitional impulses - such as the move to value-based care or integrated care - that potentially offer a bridgehead in both directions. With our work - that spans the entire continuum from front-line workers to the Prime Minister's Office - we want to contribute to the humanising movement. Here are a few highlights of the past months:

  • In response to a request of the King Baudouin Foundation we ran a participatory process to find out what the common denominator is behind a range of person- and community-centric care and wellbeing concepts. We worked with key stakeholders in the Belgian healthcare system from Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders. This kind of assignment helps to develop common language in a crowded transition arena.
  • We ran an ambitious assignment in response to a request of the Belgian Healthcare Knowledge Centre who were tasked by the Prime Minister's Office to find out how far the Belgian healthcare system had progressed towards 'integrated care' and how the transition could be brought to the next phase. This was a technical assignment with a very strict timeline that involved the consultation of many stakeholders all over the country. We were able to pull this off thanks to a very smooth collaboration with researchers from the Faculty of Public Health at the Université Catholique de Louvain. The report can be consulted here. In a nutshell: still a long way to go towards proper integrated care, and the transition path we designed brought important institutional changes forward to make it happen.
  • The theme of health literacy has been a constant element in our work during the last three years. In response to a request by the Fund Dr. Daniël de Coninck we are supporting a learning ecosystem of 18 pioneering health-literate organisations. The Brussels-based Cultures et Santé are our partners in this venture. The process of learning together is scheduled to run well into 2024.
  • Another long-term learning trajectory centers on a transition in the oncological research system towards realising more patient value. Three years ago we kicked this off with a strategic visioning trajectory. Today we are working with a multistakeholder coalition of actors to bring to life a transdisciplinary research program that reflects a patient-driven ethos. The convenor behind this effort is once more the King Baudouin Foundation.
  • Health for All Learning Experiment is a 1-year learning trajectory, funded by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, that wants to reinforce the momentum towards community care. We are working with key partners such as the Institute for Positive Health, the UK-based School of Systems Change and Ashoka's Health Program to make this happen. The International Futures Forum acts as our partner and 'critical friend' in this venture.

All of our assignments reflect a broad, holistic approach and bet heavily on an organic, smart process of experimenting and learning together. It is so important to do the work together to really bring the available potential to development, to growth. Learning together, exchanging, developing and thereby creating a common language are essential building blocks. We are already looking forward to continuing on this path in 2023!

< image Alex Fu on Pexels