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Up-to-date mutual learning takes place in the shadow of one of Europe's historical locations

diane.whitehouse's picture

History and innovation were brought together in a single place on Tuesday, 3rd June 2014. Thanks to Engaged, on 3rd June 2014, some 80 people met in the grounds of Canterbury cathedral, Kent, England at the Cathedral Lodge. Kent is one of the 13 areas in England to have been appointed as integration pioneers in the health and care sector. The day's aim was to learn about innovation in shared care not only in Europe but around the world.

"Putting the citizen at the centre, through pace and scale," is Kent's mission for its 1.5 million inhabitants voiced by Robert Stewart, Integration pioneer steering group chair. Indeed, "regions can be beacons," said Anna Dixon of the Department of Health; and this is certainly Kent's aspiration. Learning and sharing with fellow Europeans is of key importance: therefore, "we really value becoming part of European community of exchanges, best practices and learning," underlined Anne Tidmarsh of Kent County Council.

Similar stories of experiences came from speakers invited by Engaged who came from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, EHMA, EHTEL, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare, the Region of South Denmark, and Kent Innovation Hub. They told of the exciting work of the European Innovation Partnership, the Engaged and Momentum projects, in Denmark and Scotland, and in Kent more locally. An activity appreciated during the day was that the attendees – who came from as far and wide as Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Poland and Spain – followed the classic Engaged model of round table group discussions on specific issues. The two critical topics of the day were: the shared care (health and care) approach, and the impact that innovation hubs can have.

Matt Hector-Taylor from HSAGlobal, a company in Canterbury, New Zealand, shared with enthusiasm his experiences of introducing electronic patient records and shared care planning with the Kent attendees. Members of the audience launched into questions around the assessment and evaluation procedures, the patient experience, what happens in the home, and how may people need to be supported and empowered in learning to use the technologies involved.

Many issues highlighted are organisational, but – whatever the challenges – Matt was keen to advocate "start now!" Therefore, on 4th June 2014, a further working meeting will be held in Maidstone, Kent, to continue the work started on the 3rd June. People will be tweeting about their ideas and experiences: so, watch out for further news about Engaged on Twitter!