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Call: Enhancing quality of care and patient safety

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-HLTH-CARE
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 4: Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care"

Calls for proposals under this destination are directed towards the Key Strategic Orientation KSO-D ‘Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society’ of Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2024. Research and innovation supported under this destination should contribute to the impact areas ‘Good health and high-quality accessible health care’ and ‘A resilient EU prepared for emerging threats’, and in particular to the following expected impact, set out in the Strategic Plan for the health cluster: ‘Health care systems provide equal access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care thanks to the development and uptake of safe, cost-effective and people-centred solutions, with a focus on population health, health systems resilience, as well as improved evidence-based health policies’. In addition, research and innovation supported under this destination could also contribute to the following impact areas: ‘Climate change mitigation and adaptation’, ‘High quality digital services for all’ and ‘A Competitive and secure data economy’.

Health systems are affected by limitations in sustainability and resilience, challenges which have been reinforced by the COVID-19 crisis that has also revealed inequalities in access to high-quality health care services. Our health systems need to become more effective, efficient, accessible, fiscally and environmentally sustainable, and resilient in order to cope with public health emergencies, to adapt to environmental challenges like climate change and to contribute to social justice and cohesion. Therefore, the transformation and modernisation of our health systems will be one of the biggest challenges in the economic recovery-bound future, but it will also be a time of opportunity for generating evidence, taking advantage of digital and data-driven innovation and developing more flexible and equitable health systems.

Under this destination, research and innovation aims at supporting health care systems in their transformation to ensure fair access to sustainable health care services of high quality for all citizens. Funded activities should support the development of innovative, feasible, implementable, financially sound and scalable solutions in the various dimensions of health care systems (e.g. governance, financing, human and physical resources, health service provision, and patient empowerment). Ultimately, these activities should provide decision-makers with new evidence, methods, tools and technologies for uptake into their health care systems and, consequently, allow improving governance of the European health care systems, supporting health care professionals and providers and allocating resources according to citizens’ health needs and preferences, while ensuring fiscal and environmental sustainability to assure those needs can be met on the long-term. Funded activities should adopt a patient-centred approach that empowers patients, promotes a culture of dialogue and openness between citizens, patients, caregivers, health care providers and other relevant stakeholders, and unleashes the potential for social innovation.

In this work programme, destination 4 will focus on the following issues:

  • Modernising health care systems in the EU, especially through a European public-public partnership on transforming health and care systems;
  • Improving the quality of health care along the entire health care continuum and being people-centred;
  • Supporting evidence-based health care decisions both for health care providers and policy-makers, fostering improved foresight and enabling sound planning of health care resources;
  • Enhancing development and uptake of innovative health care services and solutions, including environmentally sustainable ones that contribute to the European Green Deal.

In view of increasing the impact of EU investments under Horizon Europe, the European Commission welcomes and supports cooperation between EU-funded projects to enable cross-fertilisation and other synergies. This could range from networking to joint activities such as the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. Opportunities for potential synergies exist between projects funded under the same topic but also between other projects funded under another topic, cluster or pillar of Horizon Europe (but also with ongoing projects funded under Horizon 2020). In particular, this could involve projects related to European health research infrastructures (under pillar I of Horizon Europe), the EIC strategic challenges on health and EIT-KIC Health (under pillar III of Horizon Europe), or in areas cutting across the health and other clusters (under pillar II of Horizon Europe). For instance, with cluster 2 “Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society” such as on health economics and economic models, on cost-effectiveness, fiscal sustainability and accessibility of health care, or on adaptation of public health systems to societal challenges (climate change, environmental degradation, migration, demographic change, emerging epidemics and One Health AMR) thereby contributing to building resilience; with cluster 3 “Civil Security for Society” such as on security of health care infrastructures, incl. digital health infrastructures, health systems preparedness and response to disasters and other emergencies, and quality and safety of medicine (counterfeit and substandard medicine, illicit drugs, One Health AMR); with cluster 4 “Digital, Industry and Space” such as on cybersecurity of (public) health systems, products and infrastructures of digitalised health and care, or on health impact assessment (e.g. related to consumer products, working place innovation).

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Health and social care services and systems have improved governance mechanisms and are more effective, efficient, accessible, resilient, trusted and sustainable, both fiscally and environmentally. Health promotion and disease prevention will be at their heart, by shifting from hospital-centred to community-based, people-centred and integrated health care structures and successfully embedding technological innovations that meet public health needs, while patient safety and quality of services is increased.
  • Health care providers are trained and equipped with the skills and competences suited for the future needs of health care systems that are modernised, digitally transformed and equipped with innovative tools, technologies and digital solutions for health care. They save time and resources by integrating and applying innovative technologies, which better involve patients in their own care, by reorganising workflows and redistributing tasks and responsibilities throughout the health care system, and by monitoring and analysing corresponding health care activities.
  • Citizens are supported to play a key role in managing their own health care, informal carers (including unpaid carers) are fully supported (e.g. by preventing overburdening and economic stress) and specific needs of more vulnerable groups are recognised and addressed. They benefit from improved access to health care services, including financial risk protection, timely access to quality essential health care services, including safe, effective, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines.
  • Health policy and systems adopt a holistic approach (individuals, communities, organisations, society) for the evaluation of health outcomes and value of public health interventions, the organisation of health care, and decision-making.
  • The actions resulting from the calls under this destination will also create strong opportunities for synergies with the EU4Health programme and in particular to contribute to the goals under general objectives 1a “protecting people in the Union from serious cross-border threats to health and strengthening the responsiveness of health systems and coordination among the Member States to cope with those threats” and 3 “strengthening health systems by improving their resilience and resource efficiency, in particular through: i) supporting integrated and coordinated work between Member States; ii) promoting the implementation of best practices on data sharing; iii) reinforcing the healthcare workforce; iv) tackling the implications of demographic challenges; and v) advancing digital transformation”.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Enhancing quality of care and patient safety
Description of call
"Enhancing quality of care and patient safety"

Expected Outcome

This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to one or several expected impacts of destination 4 “Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care”. To that end, proposals under this topic should aim for delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to some of the following expected outcomes:

  • Health policymakers use context specific knowledge and evidence to develop inclusive, effective and affordable interventions ensuring patient safety;
  • Health care professionals know how to prevent, identify, evaluate and address risks for patient safety, and use harmonised or standardised patient-centred procedures and practice guidelines for improving patient safety developed in partnership with empowered patients;
  • Health care providers integrate harmonised and standardised practices with personalised treatment schemes;
  • Health care providers use quality assured processes to bridge inter-sectorial gaps in the clinical pathways of patients to improve patient safety;
  • An increased number of health care professionals and patients/citizens adhere to recommendations for improved patient safety.

Scope:

Patient safety remains an issue of increasing concern for EU health systems. The Commission estimates that between 8% and 12% of patients admitted to hospitals in the EU suffer from adverse effects of health care.

Overall, the most common types of in-hospital adverse effects are operative/surgical related, medication or drug related, and health care associated infections, half of them being preventable. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than 7 million admissions in the OECD countries result from safety lapses in primary and ambulatory care. Diagnostic errors persist throughout all settings of care and contribute to increased risks and harms from the treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and implement coherent quality improvement and patient safety strategies in Europe. Harmonisation and standardisation of health care processes (Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures) along the continuum of care contribute to improve quality and safety of health services, minimise the risk of errors and at the same time ensure the quality and comparability of health data. It is also a mean to address inequities in health care delivery.

The proposals should take into consideration the already existing EU-funded initiatives in this area and must address in a coherent manner at least three of the following items, but may also contain other research and innovations activities for improving patient safety:

  • Fill knowledge and practice gaps in quality of care and patient safety, including through harmonisation and standardisation of health care delivery, optimizing inter-sectoral clinical pathways and decision-making processes and tools across regions and countries.
  • Development and piloting of harmonised evidence-based interventions in a uniform and structured way in health care institutions of different EU regions and countries. This should be addressed in case studies at hospital, primary and outpatient care levels, and it should also take into consideration the diverse health care landscape across European Union and Associated Countries.
  • Research on translation of international standards and clinical guidelines into national practice for improved quality of care and patient safety.
  • Provide context-specific evidence on facilitators and barriers for transferring identified good practices across regions and countries.
  • Comprehensive comparison of practices related to clinical guidelines in European Union and Associated Countries, including the regulatory basis underpinning guidelines in each health system, the guideline development process, mechanisms of quality control, implementation modalities, and evaluation of produced recommendations.
  • Development of innovative approaches for the integration of harmonised and standardised practices with personalised treatment plans.

Proposals should consider a patient-centred approach that empowers patients/citizens, promotes a culture of dialogue and openness between health professionals and citizens/ patients, and unleashes the potential for social innovation.

The proposals should contribute to improved patient safety along the continuum of care in European Union and Associated Countries. The proposal should present a clear strategy for empowering and involving patients and caregivers in addressing the selected item(s), giving attention to both PROMs (Patient-Reported Outcome Measures) and PREMs (Patient-Reported Experience Measures). The research design, including the expected results, should carefully analyse and tackle the sex and gender dimension. The proposed evidence-based interventions, including clinical guidelines and standards, should meet health care providers’ needs and goals to increase patient safety and health care quality.

All projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. Therefore, proposals are expected to include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider to cover the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase. In this regard, the Commission may take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant stakeholders, if appropriate.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 5.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 25.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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