- By Jamie Shea
The pandemic forced health systems to respond, adjust and adapt immediately, and while the current rate of change is unsustainable in the long term, the pandemic has left us in a unique position to use this momentum to build back better.
A whole-of-society, whole-of-economy approach to reforming European health systems would ensure that patients receive the right care – at the right place and at the right time. The reorganisation and delivery of care must be patient-centred, underpinned by new integrated care models and supported by digitalisation. We need to build trust between patients and healthcare professionals, by empowering patients, increasing health and digital literacy and giving patients a stronger voice to advocate for their needs.
Our latest report, published in cooperation with Baxter, on the future of healthcare in Europe breaks down the following three overarching recommendations into executable actions at EU, national and local levels to support the transformation and modernisation of EU healthcare:
- Make the patient the point of care.
- Promote integrated care pathways through community and home-based care.
- Make the architecture of healthcare digital by default to support integrated care.
COVID-19 highlighted the urgency of connecting different parts of health and social care systems to provide coordinated and seamless care for citizens. But it also showed the capacity of health providers at regional and national levels to craft digital solutions for care delivery in communities and homes to shield vulnerable patients and ensure continuity of care. This is a learning moment – one that we cannot ignore, for the sake of patients and the resilience of Europe.
The recommendations are based on the outcomes of two working group sessions organised by Friends of Europe in early 2021, which brought together a wide range of stakeholders from healthcare institutions, international organisations and industry to healthcare providers and patients.
- EU healthcare systems must adopt new strategies to build resilience for the future, by Cristiano Franzi
- How do health systems meet the challenge of managing chronic diseases during COVID-19, by Raymond Vanholder
- Meeting the healthcare needs of chronic patients – lessons to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, by Fiona Loud
- Protecting elderly people from COVID-19: the role of primary health care, by Francesca Colombo and Caroline Berchet
- Alternative and flexible approaches to delivering health care in COVID times, by Erin Webb and Cristina Hernández-Quevedo
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