Looking back on ICIC23 in Antwerp 22 – 24 May 2023

Looking back on ICIC23 in Antwerp 22 – 24 May 2023


It has now been almost two months since we held the 23rd International Conference on Integrated Care in Antwerp. The conference, in partnership with Flanders Agency for Health and Care and Visit Flanders, was attended by a total of 1,247 in person delegates with another 847 virtual delegates joining online.

In the article “Het is tijd voor actie” (It’s time for action), Zorgnet-Icuro reflects on ICIC23 and the need for action. At the International Foundation for Integrated Care, we could not agree more. The conference program ran for a total of three days bringing together healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, patients and caregivers sharing their experiences and research on integrated care. Including 160 sessions involving plenary sessions, workshops, oral paper presentations, poster presentations and site visits, we witnessed what different regions around the world are doing to tackle fragmentation in local healthcare systems and communities.

As Bernadette Van den Heuvel points out in the Zorget-Icuro article, we need to focus on the patient, their care and goals and build around their needs rather than the supply of care. The general consensus at the conference was exactly this. Care and welfare belong together but this must be part of the organizational structure in terms of financing and policy making. Van Heuvel states:

“At the level of organizations and teams, several places are already working nicely integrated, but at the system level – that is, the policy – we are lagging behind. That’s where the shoe pinches. There are so many different rules around funding and competencies…”

For integrated care to be truly present in organizations and health acre systems, we need to make changes at policy level and we need policy makers to be involved in creating these changes. They need to listen to what the patient actually wants rather than thinking about how the supply of care suits the workers.

The challenge here is the different rules and regulations around funding which makes good practice in care such a challenge to implement. Like Van Heuvel, we hope that seeing good practices that are happening around the world, as shared at ICIC23 can inspire not only organisations but also governments. This is why it is so important that governmental bodies and the finance team in health organisations come to events like this to see how integrated care systems can benefit them, their country and their organisations.

But as our colleague, Arturo Alvarez-Rosete stated in Plenary 4, “Always look on the bright side of life” and let us look forward to making positive changes in our local, national and regional health care systems that actually look after the patient and their needs.


To see the original article click here.