Imagine if the best specialists from across Europe could join their efforts or rare medical conditions that require highly specialised healthcare and a concentration of knowledge and resources. That's the purpose of the European Reference Networks and it's becoming a reality.
Health systems in the European Union seek to provide high-quality, cost-effective care. This is particularly difficult in the case of conditions requiring a concentration of resources or expertise, and even more so with rare or low-prevalence complex diseases or conditions. With a new initiative called European Reference Networks (ERNs) a formal platform at EU level will be established to construct partnerships on healthcare to take advantage of potential synergies and economies of scale.
ERNs aim to support Europe-wide cooperation on highly specialised healthcare between providers and centres of expertise for patients with rare conditions no matter where they are in Europe. By bringing together highly specialised healthcare providers in different Member States patients will have access to the best possible expertise and care available in the EU.
The European Commission will launch a call for proposals for ERNs with different specialties before May 2016. In the field of rare and complex urogenital diseases and conditions the EAU has been leading in bringing together centres of expertise across Europe to create an ERN. This network will cover paediatric, highly specialised functional urogenital surgery and the latest state-of-the art treatment for patients with rare urogenital cancers.
Research and innovation – with full engagement of our patient organisations - will be one of the driving forces of our ERN. We will bring together the knowledge and expertise of various clinicians and centres in a new and ambitious way, focussing on a life-long multi- disciplinary approach treatment for our patients.
By working together, we will exploit new technologies, innovate and translate new devices and ideas to market more quickly and thereby maximise economic impact and most importantly create more effective outcomes for our patients. Should you feel that your centre is qualified to be a leading provider of urological specialised services and will meet the strict criteria for becoming one of the centres of excellence, please contact Michelle Battye, EAU EU Policy Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
By utilising the already existing experience, knowledge and networks of the EAU to the greatest extent, we will be able to develop new innovative sharing, caring and if possible curing approaches for rare urological diseases to improve patient care throughout all Member States.