Greece and Cyprus Projects Recognised for Investing in Digital Healthcare for Active Aging

Two organisations from Greece were honoured today by the European Commission during the European Reference Sites awards ceremony, in Brussels, for delivering innovative digital solutions, to improve the lives and health of the ageing population. A total of 74 regional and local organisations were awarded “Reference Site” status.

The projects awarded “Reference Site” status are Dr. Panayiotis Mitsias’ Neurological Study for the Medical School of the University of Heraklion-Crete and Dr. Panagiotis Bamidis for the Regional Network Long Lasting Memories (LLM Care*) of the Research Committee of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (a Greece/Cyprus collaboration).

*LLM Care is based on non-pharmaceutical intervention that combines contemporary exercises promoting physical activity and cognitive training through an entertaining environment prolonging the independent living, with a direct and effective impact on improving the quality of life.

The Reference Site status is granted to organisations who have demonstrated excellence in the development, adoption and scaling up of innovative practices for active and healthy ageing, in line with the strategic objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) and particularly the European Scaling Up Strategy for Innovation in Active and Healthy Ageing. The Scaling Up strategy supports the European Commission priority of establishing a Digital Single Market to unlock online opportunities for digital products and services.

At the awards ceremony, held as part of the European Summit on Digital Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing (5-8 December), Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger said: “I am delighted to award the 2016 Reference Sites prizes to the 74 regional and local leaders. They are recognised for having pioneered innovative digital services and their committed to continue investing in digital innovation as a way to provide better health and care to their ageing populations, more efficient health and care systems, and generate new economic opportunities for innovative companies.”

At the summit, Commissioner Oettinger also received the European Blueprint on Digital Transformation of health and care. This document reflects a “shared vision” from stakeholders coming from civil society, industry and policy to enable better health and care through digital innovation, and contains a roadmap of concrete actions for the next three years.

President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Markku Markkula said: “These sites represent a sum of more than € 4 billion targeted at health, quality of life and innovative solutions for Europe’s ageing populations. They are right to invest in their future, especially in view of the demographic changes sweeping across all of Europe’s regions and cities. More broadly, we welcome the Innovation Partnerships on Active and Healthy Ageing and Digital Innovation as important steps towards developing future solutions to societal challenges in Europe. A Europe built on innovative, pioneering regions is a Europe of the future so I call on these pioneers to inspire others to join us in creating a more sustainable future, for and with our citizens.”

If you are interested in engaging with the Reference Sites please contact the Reference Sites Collaborative Network.

The 2016 European Summit on Digital Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing (5-8 December) aims at mobilising stakeholders and policymakers to work together on the basis of this “shared vision” and scale up innovation in active and healthy ageing (AHA) through age-friendly ICT solutions, such as smart homes, social robotics and integrated digital healthcare and social services.