The Erasmus+ DISH project

DISH European Reference Group members discussed challenges and opportunities at the second meeting

On 29 April 2021, the European Health Management Association (EHMA) hosted the 2nd meeting of the European Reference Group (ERG) of the DISH project.  

The objective of the meeting was to gather feedback from the ERG members on the project implementation, and in particular, some of the ongoing pilots in each of the six countries involved. Additionally, the meeting aimed to receive expert opinions on opportunities for project uptake in other contexts.  

Trine Ungermann Fredskild, Head of Innovation of SHS Hospital, Denmark and Coordinator of the DISH project opened the meeting by presenting the three DISH concepts, and sharing updates on the implementation of these concepts in each country. Fredskild also reflected on the inevitable challenges encountered by partners in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following the introductory remarks, the participants were divided into two groups, moderated by Federica Margheri (EHMA) and Natalia Allegretti (ECHAlliance), where pilots from the six countries involved in the DISH project were presented.   

The feedback shared by the ERG members 

The ERG members were invited to share their feedback following the presentations of the pilots. They highlighted the importance of stakeholder involvement in the pilots, noting that the perspectives of all Triple Helix partners are helpful to contextualise the project and keep it sustainable.  

Some ERG members suggested that the COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation, which has highlighted the need to educate HCPs at all levels and ensure that they embrace the benefits of digital solutions and use technology at its optimal capacity. In that context, they emphasised the need to reshape the didactic process for online learning, as many of the trainings delivered online during the pandemic helped increase the number of trainees, but proved more complex for skills training.  

In discussing digital solutions, the ERG members noted that they require a paradigm shift in organisational processes, which needs to be facilitated by policymakers by supporting HCPs in learning how to use digital solutions and encouraging the co-creation of technologies.  

Reflecting on challenges in the implementation of the DISH concepts, one challenge noted across all pilot sites is the availability of HPCs, as the management of the pandemic and the efforts to increase vaccination rates have made it difficult to secure the participation of HCPs. For this reason, most Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities have been put on hold.  

Another challenge identified was how in bigger organisations it is harder to receive support from all levels of management. In such situations, it is essential to clearly present the importance and benefits of the DISH concepts, rather than other methods. Furthermore, to facilitate the implementation and scale-up of the DISH concepts, particularly in big organisations or larger-scale initiatives, it is important to start with smaller projects that are easier to adopt and clearly showcase the results to upper-level management.  

In discussing opportunities for the project uptake, ERG members suggested that Danish pilot on discharge planning conferences could be adopted by other organisations to support HCP teams in improving the patient experience at the moment of discharge, decreasing the risk of adverse post-discharge events, and increasing treatment adherence. 

Henriette Hansen, EU Consultant & Project Manager, South Denmark European Office, concluded the meeting by highlighted the importance of flexibility in the adoption and implementation of the DISH concepts. Although flexibility is often a challenge in many settings, it is also a strength in the adoption of new solutions. Even more so now, when dealing with COVID-19 requires new solutions, adapted to local contexts, and bringing people together. 

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