Announcing the winners of the 2021 EFPIA Connecting Healthcare Awards

EFPIA is delighted to reveal the winners of the 2021 Connecting Healthcare Awards. These multi-stakeholder collaborative projects bring together organisations, including patient advocates and industry partners to improve the lives of patients in Europe.  

An independent expert jury evaluated 62 high-quality projects from across Europe, rewarding those that demonstrated the power of partnership in finding innovative solutions that address the needs of patients. The overall Connecting Healthcare winner receives a grant of €10,000, with further prizes of €5,000 awarded to winners of three specialist categories: Prevention & Awareness, Service Delivery, and Innovation.  

"I’d really like to thank and congratulate all the partners, patient organisations, medical societies, pharma companies and others, who make these fascinating projects happen. It’s only through working together and understanding each other’s perspectives that we can improve patient’s journeys and lives, and shape the future of healthcare in a patient-centric way," said Nathalie Moll, Director General of EFPIA.  

The judges commended the winners and noted the high calibre of projects submitted to this year’s Connecting Healthcare Awards. Prize-winners addressed patient experiences of inflammatory disease, mental health, leukaemia, and autoimmune conditions. In addition, the jury praised Breathless, a project helping to redefine severe asthma care, and EUPATI which equips patient experts with the tools they need to shape the future of medicine.   

The imagination, commitment and energy shown in all projects was impressive. A uniformly high standard challenged the judges. It was a pleasure to see the wide scope of innovation,’ said Mary Harney, Jury Member.  

Meet the winners:

  • Overall winner: The International Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (IMAS) 
    This project gathered real-life insights from over 4,000 participants, capturing patient experiences in a way rarely reflected in clinical studies. The findings triggered discussions with patients and rheumatologists worldwide to inform clinical decision-making, shorten diagnostic delay, and ensure patients receive optimal care. In addition to publishing 48 scientific abstracts and congress presentations, the initiative was brought to life through an interactive artistic sculpture on display at a premier rheumatology congress.  

An invaluable project with the highest impact on patient lives, connecting patients with healthcare professionals in a very well elaborated and unique way,” said Jakub Dvořáček, Jury Member. 

  • Innovation Award: The Dreamcatcher 
    Research shows that young people with rheumatic disease would like greater influence over their medical treatment. The Dreamcatcher is an innovative digital app that captures patients’ ambitions and allows them to share them with others, including fellow patients and their healthcare provider. By taking a positive, patient-centred approach, the project reframes the relationship between patients and healthcare providers by putting the patients’ wishes at the heart of the conversation.  

The innovative, collaborative and forward-looking approach is impressive, and it could have major impact on healthcare patient-centricity,” said Anders Blanck, Jury Member.  

  • Service Delivery Award: Conectados 
    Diagnosis with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) poses profound medical, mental health and quality of life challenges. To support those undergoing treatment, this project connects patients with psycho-oncologists to help them work through a range of issues including motivation, nutrition, exercise and wellbeing. This emotional support and continued telephone assistance have had a deep and positive impact on the lives of patients.  

Connectados is an inspiring project to bring people together. To motivate them to learn and also to provide support. Especially in times like these, where we live in a pandemic situation with social isolation this can help patients to be in touch with others and feel not alone with their disease,” said Birgit Bauer, Jury Member. 

  • Prevention & Awareness Award: Breaking Depression 
    By fusing art and science, this project put the spotlight on the experience of people affected by major depressive disorder (MDD). Artists communicated patient stories using the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi (meaning ‘golden joinery) which involves repairing broken objects with gold lacquer. Rather than hiding the cracks and the signs of repair, kintsugi incorporates them into the object’s history. This powerful metaphor reminds society that, with time, care and patience, people with MDD can begin to heal.  

Wonderful use of art, social media & collaboration between industry, professionals & patient organisations to break stigma and create positivity for patients,” said Mary Harney, Jury Member.