Leveraging Sustainable Innovation in Healthcare
Innovation in healthcare is essential to leverage better public health as well as economic wealth. As access to care improves and technological innovation brings new perspectives in the medical field, the population’s expectations increase. People aim for stricter food and drug security measures, improved traceability and precision medicine. The entire health system is forced to adapt to new demands from the population and to a wave of new technologies. The challenge is to find the right balance between answering the demand and proving economically sustainable innovation in healthcare.
Week 26: Rethinking Innovation in Healthcare
The theme of the series of conferences held at the University of Bordeaux on June 28th, 2017 was sustainable innovation in healthcare. The discussions were part of a much larger event called Week 26 that aimed to bring together researchers, industry leaders or society stakeholders in order to address our world’s most important challenges. Of course, one cannot talk about global challenges without addressing the deep transformation taking place in the healthcare industry. And the questions asked to all the speakers were: in what way can public authorities and healthcare providers stimulate innovation so as to offer better care for all, while ensuring that the system is sustainable? What role will researchers play in this challenging process?
Rafael Bengoa – Trends and Lessons in the Healthcare Industry
Rafael Bengoa, Former Minister of Health of the Basque Government presented the international trends and lessons in the healthcare industry. From his years of experience, Bengoa identified four main issues that the system struggles to face: the ageing population, the increasing number of chronical diseases, medical errors being the 3rd cause of death in the US and the fragmentation of care.
Bengoas’s 5Ps – proactivity, patient empowerment, personalization, prevention and population – seem to be interesting areas to explore in order to address those challenges. At a local scale, the management arsenal to put in practice the 5Ps is quite considerable. It goes from EMRs implementation to risk stratification, to new payment models and patient pathways. Unfortunately, it takes more than a group of motivated individuals to change the entire system. It takes new policies. Implementing them requires to convince the political class to make a change. For now, their actions have just created an implementation gap and have diverted energy and derailed change. The reason could be a bad risk management that keeps policy makers from taking the first step towards sustainable innovation in healthcare.
Healthcare Stakeholders Push Sustainable Innovation in Healthcare
The entire day was dedicated to presenting different initiatives and ideas around sustainable innovation in healthcare. Pharmaceutical companies, policy makers, University professors and other healthcare stakeholders shared their visions, projects and perspectives on the subject. While almost all agreed to say that the industry is going through deep changes, very few had concrete ideas on how to implement those changes and make them last over time. On one hand, private actors presented their projects and demonstrated their motivation in becoming leaders of innovation in healthcare. On the other hand, public institutions appeared to be more reluctant to change. Clotilde Jolivet from Sanofi, shared with the audience the need for Big Pharmas to work hand-in-hand with regulators in order to explore new evaluation models for digital solutions.
Based on a paper published by the World Economic Forum about sustainability in healthcare, Kristel Van der Elst presented 3 paths to transform the health system. The study suggests, for instance, measuring the cost-effectiveness of healthcare. In addition, more affordable and accessible treatments and a greater interest in prevention could also contribute to bring sustainable innovation in healthcare.
Finally, although the french system is very performant, there are great inequalities in terms of quality and access to care. E-health, biotechnologies or big data offer the opportunity to challenge the status quo and bring a new dynamic to the whole industry.
Sustainable Innovation in Healthcare? Not Yet…
Denise Silber, the inspiring master of ceremony and well-known expert in eHealth, concluded by reminding the audience that interdisciplinary work is the key to sustainable innovation in healthcare. Startups, big companies, patients, doctors or public institutions need to work together in order to transform the system. However, one thing is cleat to the audience: individuals will empower the change in healthcare. Not business. Not the government. Last word: in order to be sustainable, the people should be the ones shaping and empowering innovation.
Innovation Day in Bordeaux was a great initiative of the University of Bordeaux and the theme was thought-provoking. The evolution of health expenditure as a percentage of GDP shows that countries spend billions on care. This makes the system unsustainable on the long term. Therefore, making innovation in healthcare sustainable is a challenge health stakeholders need to address immediately. Unfortunately, very few have concrete measure to implement to fulfill this goal. Week 26 was a great opportunity to bring together different healthcare stakeholders. The discussions encouraged them to collaborate more and accelerate the transformation of the healthcare system.
For more insight on the event, follow #Week26 and/or #InnovDayBdx on Twitter.