How can we ensure that residents of the eastern Netherlands stay fit and healthy for longer? Almost 100 participants from hospitals, educational institutions, care and network organizations from Gelderland and Overijssel put their heads together on June 21 to answer this question, during the first edition of the TOPFIT event.
The shortest possible answer: working together. No person or organization can do this alone, as became clear from the guest lecture by Paul Habets, general practitioner and founder of the Gezonde Regio Vitaal Vechtdal, who highlighted that this topic is as pressing as ever. “When I started as a family doctor in the 1980s, most of the diabetes patients in my clinic were at least in their 60s. Nowadays we often diagnose diabetes in people under 50 years old.”
The approach of Vitaal Vechtdal shows similarities with the strategy and goals of TOPFIT: collaboration in the region, involving residents, focussing on preventing disease. These are important principles of TOPFIT, with the overarching goal of keeping residents of the eastern Netherlands fit and healthy for longer.
The fact that so many educational institutions and hospitals in Gelderland and Overijssel were represented at the TOPFIT event shows that this goal is widely supported. “Agreements were made to meet up even after the event and to take up projects,” says TOPFIT program manager Hanneke Bodewes. “These are important building blocks for achieving concrete results.”
In several workshops, attendees brainstormed about the next steps. How can you involve residents in detecting and preventing disease? What can we do together to properly train healthcare professionals? What business models for prevention will keep healthcare affordable? Answers to those kinds of questions lead the way to results.
Remke Burie, chairman of the TOPFIT Executive Committee, concludes: “It’s great to see that people from so many different backgrounds are pursuing the same goal: keeping residents of the eastern Netherlands healthy for longer. This became clear once again during the TOPFIT event. Combine this commitment with our collective knowledge and expertise, and we should succeed in making a difference.”