Health and Social Care and innovation: the way ahead


The health and social care and innovation strategies emerge in the context of a remarkable increase in the number and types of social and health care needs in many countries of the world. By ‘social and health care needs’ we mean the convergence of health care and social care prevention, assistance or intervention needs of individuals in long-lasting, strong, close or connected ways in situations like ageing, disability, chronic disease or dependency.

Social and health care and innovation must be oriented toward individuals and their health, autonomy, coexistence and wellbeing. The social and health care approach assumes that response systems (social and health care services) should be flexible and versatile enough to focus on individuals all the time, adapting responses to needs rather than people to structures. This should be done while taking into account the fact that structures are essential and must be strengthened and developed, and that they are still asymmetrical (health care systems are currently much more developed than social services in European most countries).

We must, also, embrace the community model, understood as the model strengthening relational ties and citizen participation in response to people’s needs, and the promotion and protection of people’s health, integration, autonomy and wellbeing in their usual geographical and social environments (without getting out of our own house and neighborhood, if possible). That means to be committed to social and health care and innovation in disability, ageing, depending or chronic disease situations enhancing the responsibilities and roles of the people involved or affected by these situations, their families and informal networks.

Public institutions must promote social investment towards the synergy between technological innovation (knowledge-based innovation in standardised ways of doing things) and social innovation (improvements in social structure and dynamics with an impact on collective wellbeing). We need a strong political and public leadership in order to reinforce and reinvent our welfare state and social and health care and innovation strategy must be at the heart of this leadership.

Documents in Spanish in policies and issues

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