The EU’s support for the challenges facing healthcare

The EU has dedicated 37 billion euros of its Recovery and Resilience Facility to healthcare reforms. It will provide opportunities to improve primary care infrastructure, make overdue investment in the renewal of medical technology and drive reforms towards the digital transformation of healthcare systems.

In light of today’s challenges, it is important to continuously invest in the improvement and modernisation of healthcare systems, and an integrated healthcare approach and reforms to drive the transformation of this sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are more important than ever.

The digitalisation of processes in the healthcare system and directly at the point of care in hospitals and in your doctor’s practice can be a good answer to make better use of data for the benefit of patients, doctors, and the healthcare system as a whole.

This fact has already been recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), whose member states in 2018 endorsed the Declaration of Astana to strengthen Primary Health Care.

Data suggests that more than 18 billion US dollars in hospitalisation costs in the EU related to chronic conditions can be avoided through more efficient and better integrated processes.

The European Union’s newly created Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) provides a strong opportunity for governments and healthcare providers in Europe to drive healthcare reforms and better healthcare infrastructure. According to the European Commission, more than 37 billion euros has been allocated to healthcare investments in national recovery and resilience plans.

These EU RRF investments and reforms are one of the solutions which can improve access to healthcare and modernise infrastructure, and digitalisation of healthcare processes must be a key component to increase the resilience of healthcare systems in Europe

Meanwhile, the geopolitical, pandemic and economic situations have significantly impacted supply chains and led to inflationary pressure. In a perfect storm with regulatory pressures in Europe, everyone has to work together to avoid shortages in medical supplies.

EU funding for healthcare through RRF

The EU’s RRF makes a total budget of 750 billion euros in grants and loans for investments and reforms available to national governments.

The aim of this ground-breaking stimulus and reform programme is to promote the economic, social, and territorial development of the EU, based on three pillars: green, digital, and resilience.

The more than 37 billion euros of the RRF dedicated to healthcare reforms will provide opportunities to improve primary care infrastructure, make overdue investment in the renewal of medical technology and drive reforms towards the digital transformation of healthcare systems.

Supply chain challenges

Supply chain management in healthcare is a tough and multi-layered process involving a vast base of suppliers around the world, logistics companies, manufacturers, and governments alike.

Together we need to fix supply chain disruptions, to make sure that healthcare investments and medical devices reach patients and healthcare providers.

In today’s constrained environment, producing essential pharmaceuticals and medical equipment has to be prioritised in supply chains, logistics, availability of parts and semi-conductors in case of future disruptions.

All this should be done to ensure that medical personnel can do a decent job with their focus on patients. Especially significant is providing healthcare professionals with the uninterrupted ability to diagnose and treat patients, while at the same time allowing them to work more accurately and efficiently, both in terms of time and cost.

In order to make this happen, one of the things we need to concentrate on is implementing a remote connection between facilities. However, here, too, the matter is not so simple. At the same time as the information flow, it is necessary to work on protecting systems and finding the right partners to deliver tested algorithms and safe cloud and network capabilities.

Primary healthcare is the key to improving the life of societies in general

Primary healthcare (PHC) and appropriately equipping local medical facilities, not only in terms of hardware but also human resources, are crucial.

This is both about healthcare, especially since PHC is among the most cost-effective approaches we have to drive better health outcomes to improve the quality of services, and contribute to reducing inequities in healthcare. Moreover, PHC challenges rely on four key vectors: access, comprehensiveness, continuity, and coordination. It is also worth highlighting the role of digital transformation, which can be a real accelerator towards more resilient and efficient healthcare.

The healthcare industry faces a lot of challenges on a daily basis, many of which I didn’t even mention. However, it is important to bear in mind that the key to success is consistent work guided by purpose and mission. In our work at GE Healthcare, we are improving lives in moments that matter.

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