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Reading: Listening to the citizens and building health care of the future


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Conference Abstracts

Listening to the citizens and building health care of the future


Linda Lisberg Poulsen ,

Odense University Hospital, DK
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Janette Hughes

University of Strathclyde, GB
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Purpose: The Region of Southern Denmark RSD and The University of Strathclyde UoS have set up a collaboration to address demographic challenges and focus on smarter healthcare services. The challenges require new ways of identifying solutions to provide the best care, and to empower and involve citizens in their own care.

Context: There is wide consensus and growing evidence supporting that innovation in health and care can tackle societal challenges, increase growth, and boost efficiency and quality in the public sector. However, citizen-centred innovation efforts still struggle to trigger the expected benefits. WHO has reported that to accelerate gain in health and social outcomes and reduce inequalities, health and social services must be financially viable, fit for purpose, people-centred and evidence-informed 1. Both co-design and willingness to change are crucial for success, and eHealth City demonstrates this. 

Methods: To create better care, a citizen-centred approach is applied but with focus on a city level. Both the UoS and RSD introduce initiatives taking citizen-centred innovation to the next level:

In RSD, a collaboration between Odense University Hospital, Svendborg municipality and SME Public Intelligence has transformed the Svendborg city into an eHealth City. The eHealth City is built on an open approach to retrieving input from citizens in 3 streets and also inviting them in on the development of new solutions. This way, we ensure that citizens get to express their needs and wishes, healthcare providers know which services to provide, and companies know which services to develop. The UoS hosts the Institute for Future Cities and the Digital Health and Care Innovation centre for Scotland. In this context, the expertise in citizen-centred design, development and evaluation of smart city and mobile digital health interventions at scale, capitalising on knowledge transfer opportunities to make a real world impact is applied. This approach aims to achieve equitable access to, and uptake, of ICT-enabled care solutions to improve to ensure maximum citizen benefit. Furthermore, it supports the urgent need for work within a quadruple helix Industry, Public, Civic and Academic to drive efficiency and realise best value to benefit our citizens and regional economies.

Results/discussion: Involving citizens in the development of health and care have proven successful. However, eHealth City will take the concept a step further and push co-creation to the next level. The market for healthcare is well established and solutions for most challenges are available. However, to make sure that we develop the right services for the right needs, we need the citizens’ input. With our citizen-centred and city-wide approach, we ensure faster track to market for the sake of the citizens, companies, and healthcare providers.

Conclusion: Many initiatives in citizen-centred innovation show great results. However, this approach keeps pushing the boundaries for involving citizens. We need to put the citizen in the driver’s seat for innovation and allow them to voice their opinions to provide the best possible services and support citizen empowerment.


1. WHO EU Regional Office, Towards people-centred health systems: An innovative approach for better health outcomes, 2013. 

How to Cite: Lisberg Poulsen L, Hughes J. Listening to the citizens and building health care of the future. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2018;18(s2):142. DOI:
Published on 23 Oct 2018.


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