Good Practice
Final Meeting of the EcoQuip Project – Bologna in October

The EcoQuip project aims to demonstrate that the widespread use of innovation procurement methodologies is a practical means of addressing the future challenges of delivering both efficient and effective healthcare services to the citizens of Europe.

The project has been running since 2013 (we believe) but is now coming to an end. We’re not sure why – perhaps the funding has run out? Certainly, the overall aims and objectives continue to beg valid. Finding innovative solutions to problems probably has more scope for real progress and benefits in the healthcare sector as anywhere. The role of coordinator was played by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills in the UK, with hospitals participating form the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Hungary, as well as other interested parties.

The final meeting of EcoQuip will be held in Bologna, Italy, on 4th – 6th of October. (That is a tempting idea. Bologna is a beautiful place; one I have never visited!) Anyway, there is a welcome dinner on the 4th, the Policy Workshop on the 5th, and then a “learning visit” to St’Orsola Hospital on the 6th. The hospital is one of those that has been heavily involved in the process.

On the morning of the 5th in the workshop there is a focus on the achievements of the six participating hospitals and policy lessons from their projects, and a review of achievements and policy lessons from the collaborative procurement actions.

In the afternoon, the discussion will be facilitated by Dr Jonathan Frost, Chair of the EcoQUIP Steering Group. That will cover a synthesis of key policy issues (including insights from other innovation procurement projects), and a look at “what next”? To register for the event, please contact: ashley.stewart@optimat.co.uk. As far as we know, it is free to participants.

The best-known success of the project was perhaps the Erasmus Medical Centre award winning automated VMRC bed and mattress cleaning facility. The solution was the outcome of an innovation procurement project supported by the European Commission under the EcoQUIP project and the project won the Public Procurement of Innovation Award in 2014, as we reported here.

Other successes include the Sucha Beskidzka Hospital in Poland, who looked for and found an innovative solution to the problem of too much sunlight getting into medial wards – the aim was to secure patient’s thermal comfort whilst remaining economically feasible. The hospital could not find any existing solutions which met the need but after a process of market engagement and technical dialogue found an answer – “Photovoltaic Awnings”. These have now been installed by the hospital.

Whether we can attend or not, we hope to bring you some of the output from the October meeting after the event, and hope that there will be further initiatives to encourage innovation in this critical sector.