Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - CHETCH (China and Europe taking care of healthcare solutions)

The CHETCH project (www.chetch.eu) actively contributed to the cooperation between Europe and China by investigating the opportunities for mutual integration in the healthcare sector.
Cooperation and potential synergies were examined from a comprehensive perspective, including policies at national and local level, the legal environment, medical practices, trade and investments in the healthcare industries and related businesses. In order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the integration opportunities, an interdisciplinary approach was followed. The tools and technical knowledge derived from the medical, legal, economics and humanities fields were used.

The idea of the project started from the observation that, while facing different stages of economic development, China and Europe are sharing some key demographic trends.
Europe has developed good examples of universal healthcare systems, but significant and dramatic changes that have taken place over the past two decades have led to a decrease in health expenditure and a decline in public assistance (Hope report, 2011). In particular, the sustainability of the Mediterranean welfare state model (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece) has been challenged by the economic crisis (Jelena Batić, 2011). Actually, the main challenges faced by European countries are to improve public services, especially to a growing geriatric population, while concurrently decreasing healthcare spending.
Europe has vast experience in developing and operating universal healthcare systems, including a specific attention to long-term care assistance. European industries have reached a scale of efficiency, global competitiveness and sophisticated approaches to innovation in the pharmaceutical, equipment and para-pharmaceutical sectors.
On the other hand, China has embraced large reforms in the healthcare system to upgrade the quality and coverage of assistance provided to the Chinese people. Within this process, the universal healthcare system has been chosen as benchmark. Multiple strategies have been promoted on both the supply and demand sides. Similar to Europe, China is experiencing the challenges associated with an increasing aging population. The geriatric population requires appropriate, specific and long-term health care assistance, which costs significantly more than those services consumed by a comparatively younger population (Deloitte, 2010).
As a result of both internal and external factors, expenditure on healthcare in China is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years.
A Europe-China partnership is a win-win strategy. Potentially, Europe and China have complementarities that could help each other face their specific needs in the long run. In this scenario, China could benefit from gaining knowledge and expertise from European countries at different levels. From how to project and run a universal system; how to plan a specific care program for its ageing population; to the use of western medicine to cope with new and improved medical needs of the population.
Europe can “export” to China solutions, best practices and thus find business opportunities. At the same time, China can export to Europe practices and approaches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that could be cost saving and effective in specific pathologies.
In this scenario, the researchers in the social science and humanities area have compared the European and Chinese healthcare systems at different levels, including value systems and ethical issues.
The economic experts have specifically analysed the integration reached between China and Europe in the healthcare related industries (technologies, pharmaceutical, and other). Foreign direct investments and trade flow trends were considered, at regional and provincial levels. The typical cost-benefit tools were used to evaluate the economic impact of integrating Western Medicine (WM) and TCM practices, supporting the medical team of experts.
The analysis of the legal framework allowed to define obstacles and plausible solutions to the integration of goods and flows of capital between Europe and China, as well as appropriate solutions to enhance collaboration both at institutional, medical practices and business levels.
The team of experts in the medical field have investigate best practices of traditional medical systems using a modern science framework. The team have developed a process of recognition and scientific validation of TCM versus Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) at different levels as recommended by the World Health Organization Traditional Medicine Strategy 2003-2005.


The primary objective of CHETCH was to increase the availability of interdisciplinary studies providing a comprehensive overview (including medical, legal, economic, and humanities perspectives) of Europe-China relations in healthcare.
Through specific research outputs, the project aimed to:
• provide guidelines, i.e. policy proposals to support policy-makers both at European and Chinese level; operational suggestions for companies working in/with China, to enhance bilateral trade and investment flows; specific suggestions to boost integration on TMC and WM research studies, etc.;
• enhance scientific knowledge, through the theoretical and empirical finding of the different and joint research tasks.
Through international mobility scheme, the project has
• supported the creation of knowledge networks. The mobility program and the joint research activities allowed the identification of projects to be carried out further to the CHETCH project. It helped to establish networks for developing research links among European and Chinese centres of excellence, not yet exploited by previous EU/Marie Curie projects;
• improved research skills. As a result of the mutually beneficial research collaboration between EU and Chinese centres of excellence, with a high reputation and knowledge in their fields, researchers had the opportunity to both enhance their specific knowledge and improve their interdisciplinary research skills, working in an extensive and global network of Partners.

Main results achieved in the 4 years of the project can be summarized as follows:
- effective knowledge transfer between different research teams belonging to different disciplines, through extensive secondment periods, several internal and open meetings, as well as joint participation at conferences, academic and professional events and trade exhibitions in Europe and China;
- enhancement of scientific knowledge and quality of research output. A large number research papers were written and accepted by high-level journals with high and wide impact. A book devoted to the project was written. Other papers are currently under review in prestigious academic journals and other outputs are in the process of being published as book chapters;
- impact. Extensive dissemination activities were organized to present the project and the results achieved so far, at international meetings, scientific conferences and events related to the topics of the project. We organized outreach initiatives and events to inform relevant stakeholders (belonging to several groups of interests) of the project results. The socio economic impact of the project was maximized through the involvement of key stakeholders, such as public institutions and bodies in China and in Europe, European and Chinese firms in the healthcare industries, associations of firms in Europe and in China, professionals, as well as academic networks in the medical, socio-economic, and legal fields.

Related information

Documents and Publications

Reported by

UNIVERSITA POLITECNICA DELLE MARCHE
Italy

Subjects

Life Sciences
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