Patients played a key role at DIA Europe Meeting

This year the DIA Europe Meeting took place in Vienna on 25-27 March and attracted over 3000 participants from industry, research, academia, regulators and industry. Our member EURORDIS manages the DIA Patient Fellowship Programme and patient advocates participated actively as session speakers and as members of the planning committee.

EPF Director Nicola Bedlington represented EPF at the opening plenary session which explored the theme “Sustainable Healthcare Systems- Did we think about the citizen?” The panel debated economic constraints, health equity, the importance of health literacy, patient involvement in decision-making and responsible consumer demand.

Ms Bedlington highlighted : « he importance of meaningful patient involvement in health innovation and policy-making to optimise impact and ‘get it right’ based on patients’ unique experiential knowledge of what is needed and effective and what is not.”

Patients are part of the solution, not just THE problem or the cost-burden. She reiterated that we are experts on what works for us and what does not. We can therefore guide decision-makers on how to offer good quality care that is also cost-effective, equitable and sustainable.

She continued: “This must build on the three tenets of quality information, health literacy and patient empowerment”.

The empowerment model as EPF frames it in our campaign for the 2014 EU Elections is based on evidence from our projects and our membership. It makes a difference because, when empowered, we are good for health systems. We take responsibility for our care in equal partnership with health professionals and we also take preventive measures, seek earlier diagnosis and adhere to treatment, which can reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

She finally added that prevention, health promotion and patient-centred chronic disease management should be seen as part of one holistic continuum. All are vital and health reforms should reflect this. This is the reason why we strive for patients’ organisations engagement in policy-making, to ensure that all policies and practices reflect patients’ real-life needs, preferences and capabilities.

More information as well as presentations and reports are available on the DIA website.

The next EuroMeeting will take place in Paris in April 2015. EPF members will receive information on patient fellowship opportunities via EURORDIS and in our Weekly Digest in early 2015.
For more information, please contact EPF Director Nicola Bedlington at