Cities Can Grow Their Health Economy

Segolene Pruvot

By Segolene Pruvot, on April 4th, 2013

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How can cities boost their economies and improve the health of their population? By investing in innovation and the knowledge economy in the health field!

Investigating this area is of the main objectives of the 4D Cities URBACT project, which first transnational meeting took place in Igualada (Spain) on the 18th and 19 th of March.

Peter Ramsden, who follows the production of URBACT projects in the area of economic growth and job creation, here shares with us a first glimpse into the way cities can access funding by promoting and support innovative ideas in the health sector:

The kick off meeting of the 4D Cities project opened a prospect of patient centred health services.  For the participating cities this future could bring new opportunities in the shape of new jobs and new enterprises.

The meeting itself was chaired by Angels Chacon, an elected councillor of the Igualada municipality. The councillors have already started to position their city as a leading player in the simulation of team situations and succeeded in gaining European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) funding for a €1 million facility in which teams can train in simulated settings.

Igualada Hospital is part of the innovation team. Surgeon Enric Macarulla is leading the teaching and research department in the health consortium of the Igualada hospital. Enric’s view is that advances in health will largely come from better team work and a more patient centred approach, alongside improvements in technologies. Teams that can communicate will have lower error rates and be better for their patients. This new paradigm is challenging for the elitist culture of surgery. Putting the patient at the centre of their care will require still greater changes.

The Four dimensions of a 4D city are similar to those in the quadruple helix, as 4D cities baseline study mentions. They are: the citizen and civil society, the competitiveness of the business sector, the health sector and the knowledge sector. Local authorities are in a unique position to bring these actors together and to develop relationships between them.

Finding this new way forward could be critical for the partner cities to provide better services to citizens and develop the opportunities health can provide.

by Peter Ramsden, URBACT thematic Pole Manager

The partner of the project are Eindhoven (NL), Baia Sprie (RO), Tartu (EE), Plunge (LT), Novara (IT), Leeds (UK) and Jena (DE)

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