On 24 February 2022, the National Directorate General for Hospitals (NDGH) successfully organized the first online meeting of the regional multi-stakeholder group (RMG) of the Interreg Europe HoCare project. The four-year-long project (01/04/2016-31/03/2020) in which project partners elaborated policy recommendations and action plans to boost innovative solutions and services in the field of home care has been prolonged for an extra year. The extension was granted in the framework of IE’s 5th restricted call for proposals to collect potential best practices or solutions that proved to be effective responses and could be incorporated into regional/national policies to decrease the impact of COVID-19 crisis in social and health care services in line with the original objective of the HoCare project.

The exchange of experiences will continue based on the flow of the HoCare project’s 1st phase activities. The objective is to address the impact of the crisis and the pertaining tasks, including the preparation of 1 regional report per project partner (PP) to measure and estimate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the delivery of innovative home-care solutions, in line with the smart specialization strategies of the partner regions.

The legal predecessor of NDGH, the National Healthcare Service Centre (NHSC) participated in the HoCare project as a consortium partner between 01.04.2016-30.03.2020. HoCare project built innovative development of homecare services and products using the Quadruple Helix approach, which is based on the cooperation of representatives of healthcare and social service providers, (public service providers) SMEs (economy), research institutions & universities (academia) and patient organisations (end-users’ representatives). The project’s overall objective was to formulate policy recommendations to impact national public funding schemes and financial instruments (call for proposals or/and priority projects) of the Economic and Innovation Development Operational Programme (EDIOP) in order to enhance and foster improved access to and an uptake of innovative homecare products and services.

The online RMG meeting supporting the implementation of the project was organised with the aim to inform our partners about the major goals inherent the project prolongation. By brushing up the Action Plan previously elaborated in the framework of the project, those policy recommendations and financial engineering instruments were highlighted, which were meant to strengthen regional innovation chains The project is financed by the European Union under the Interreg Central Europe Programme, co-funded by the Hungarian State and boost innovative services and products in the field of homecare, and therefore could increase the effectiveness of the implementation of EDIOP.

Katalin Barna, Head of Unit from the Ministry of Finance, talked in details to participants about previous experience with EDIOP calls for proposals as well as the new possibilities arising from the Economic Development and Innovation Operative Programme Plus (EDIOP+) currently under elaboration.

The event ended with a roundtable discussion on the current R&D and Innovation environment in Hungary and the parallel to the impacts of the Covid-19 on the sector and the consequential challenges. The discussion also involved the topics of implementation of the original HU Regional Action Plan and the review of the Policy Instrument Report submitted previously.