The call for Reference Sites of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, which was launched in June 2019, resulted in a total of seventy-seven regional and local organisations being chosen for this award. Oulu has received 4 stars and remains the only Reference Site in Finland. The evaluation results reflect three peer evaluations as well as the Moderation Panel’s review. They have also been confirmed with the European Commission. The official Reference Site Awards Ceremony was held on 25 September 2019.
Addressing the challenges of an ageing population
All the newly awarded parties have successfully formed partnerships that show great development, adoption and scaling up of innovative practices for active and healthy ageing. It is the third time in a row that Oulu has been recognised for its excellent work in driving innovation to improve the quality of life of the ageing population, make health and social care more accessible and stimulate the economic growth in the region. At the same time, it shows appreciation for the OuluHealth ecosystem that continually brings together various stakeholders from health and social care, the natural sciences, information technology, academia, business and the city of Oulu.
‘Receiving the 4 star status is a great honour and a meaningful reward for our consistent work in the field. It provides us with more visibility and opens the door to new networks and partnerships. Hopefully also new collaboration projects will appear soon,’ commented Minna Komu, Network Director at OuluHealth.
These collaborations contribute to structural changes beyond the scope that any organisation could achieve on its own. They create a platform for other European regions to learn and adapt knowledge to their local environments, with social and economic development as the long-term goal.
The path to advanced social and healthcare services
Being a Reference Site brings greater responsibility to make continuous progress and constantly improve a shared strategy by means of networking, exchanging experiences and making joint efforts to respond to challenges in the region in the best possible way. The main goal remains the same, to deliver more personalised and connected health services for the benefit of the citizens.