Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Sustainable and affordable healthcare

Affordable and accessible healthcare may soon be a luxury for EU citizens, due to increased spending, in comparison to gross domestic product (GDP) revenues. An EU-funded project developed a research and development (R&D) roadmap for healthcare in the EU with the potential to act as an important catalyst for change.
Sustainable and affordable healthcare
The current trend of healthcare costs in EU countries increasing faster than their respective GDPs is expected to continue, leading to an unsustainable and potentially dangerous situation. Controlling costs without the ability to embrace novel innovations and maintain quality healthcare will result in it being accessible only to those who can afford it. This rapidly rising situation requires forceful and decisive actions.

Partners on the WE-CARE (Towards a sustainable and affordable healthcare) project worked to prepare the ground for future health research and innovation that, in turn, will contribute to affordable and sustainable healthcare. The obvious solution was to combine cost containment with improved healthcare quality, which is already achieved in other sectors.

The EU Commission has previously acknowledged the lack of attention to this problem within the EU R&D agenda. It asked for the creation of a new R&D strategy and R&D roadmap by key EU players.

Five workshops and a larger, interactive pan-European conference were organised, gathering more than 100 key players from over 20 countries. These experts engaged in a bottom-up process and identified seven themes critical to generating high-quality healthcare at an affordable cost.

Breakthroughs in cost reduction are achievable only through large-scale testing, potentially with the realisation of Exploratory Health System labs in different parts of Europe. All seven themes will be tested in each lab to establish the most stable, high-quality and cost-effective ecosystem. However, every theme must be addressed simultaneously to avoid cost increase or tampering with quality in another theme.

Several pathways will be explored and pursued for the realisation of the R&D roadmap, differentiating between actions at national and European level. Stakeholder support and drive is absolutely vital. Transferable and broadly applicable solutions can be generated from rigorous evaluations. If the programme is implemented at national level, support and coordination at EU level could prove to be an efficient approach, bringing added value to all European countries.

This is in line with the WE-CARE consortium's strong recommendations regarding research to be addressed in concerted action. It is also an opportunity for Europe to become a leader in tackling the fiscal challenges that ageing brings to the global community.

Related information


Life Sciences


Affordable healthcare, healthcare, R&D roadmap, WE-CARE
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