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País Vasco (ES)

Total population: 2.2 million

Region profile

The Basque Country (País Vasco) is located in the north of Spain, with a population of 2.2 million inhabitants. The average population density is around 300 inhabitants / km², higher than the European Union average; but the distribution of the population is fairly unequal, concentrated around the main cities. Almost half of the inhabitants of the Basque Country live in Greater Bilbao, Bilbao’s metropolitan area. The Basque Country includes the provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa. The major geographic feature of the autonomous region are the Pyrenees Mountains.

It is the Spanish Autonomous Community with the highest per capita income, 34.5% above the Spanish average. One of the causes of this economic strength is the important weight of industry in the Basque Autonomous Community, representing 24.2% of the Gross Domestic Product. The official languages are Spanish and Basque.

 

Health and Social Care in the Region

The situation creates a different demand of services for a healthcare system with a high quality of care and productivity. In any of the different situations, the systems enable the care provider to deliver the same care no matter where the patient lives. Healthcare in the region is managed by the Basque Government through the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza), the regional public body providing healthcare to the whole Basque population. Osakidetza has been pioneering the use of ICT technologies since the early 90’s when it launched the CLINIC project that allowed consulting the clinical information of one patient across the whole network of hospitals and centres, independently of the architecture of each system in the network. Since then, Osakidetza has been focusing on the development and implementation of ICT-based technologies to improve the quality of the services as well as to rationalise resource consumption. The investment in new technologies has increased from 9 million € in 2007 to 24 million € in 2010.

Osakidetza was designed and structured in the early 80’s to comply with an epidemiological model focused mainly on acute interventions, which does not correspond to today’s needs. As a response to the challenges that the healthcare system is facing, the Basque Country has set the objective of further developing and implementing technologies that facilitate clinical practice and self-care. This objective includes several strategic actions such as Electronic Clinical Record, added value services for professionals, ePrescription, multichannel service for contacts and health services, digitalisation of the radiology images, telemedicine, etc.

On the other hand, the Basque Government publicly finances Beti-On telecare services that are provided on a contract basis by a single private provider. People on telecare services are those persons over 65 with a demonstrated dependency, over 75 living alone, dependent mentally or physically handicapped people, and at-risk isolated persons. Telecare services provide phone care 24/7, immediate response to emergencies (health, fire, theft, etc.), and periodic follow up contact by visits or phone.

Links

Basque Government

Department of Health

Department of Employment and Social Policies

Tourist portal