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Press Release - AmCham's Conference “The Future of Healthcare”
April 26, 2022

Press Release - AmCham's Conference “The Future of Healthcare”

Inclusive, sustainable, and resilient patient-centered system

The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia has organized a conference “The Future of Healthcare” aiming to exchange views and best practices on ways to create an inclusive, sustainable and resilient patient-centered health system and experiences after the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, great pressure has been put on healthcare systems, highlighting the structural challenges they face and showing an even greater need for structural and technological transformation. The healthcare industry is facing rising costs and demands for improved quality of care.

“Financially speaking, we’re counting the costs of the healthcare system in billions of kuna, so it is necessary to make a turn through the upcoming reform measures which, in addition to organizational, personnel and financial strengthening of the healthcare system, return prevention to the focus of health care of our citizens, because what has the biggest value and cannot be expressed in numbers is precisely the health of our citizens, saved lives, and improving the quality of life,” said in her opening speech Vera Katalinić-Janković, special adviser to the Minister of Health Vili Beroš, adding that additional steps are being taken to launch targeted physical examinations by age groups as well as to reduce waiting lists by unifying information systems.

While presenting the preliminary results of the Economist study on the dynamics of healthcare systems in CEECs with an emphasis on Croatia, Jelka Drašković, Director, Key Markets Europe & Canada, MSD mentioned that “long-term smaller investment in healthcare in Central and Eastern European countries compared to more economically developed Western countries has led to significant differences that are visible today in health outcomes and the quality of healthcare. The preliminary results of the study suggest a key role of healthcare financing reform, greater investment in primary healthcare, strategic human resource development planning and resource allocation based on assessing the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health technologies in addressing these differences.”

The following people participated at the panel discussion that followed after introductory presentations, special adviser to the Minister of Health Vera Katalinić-Janković, the Ministry of Health; Hrvoje Šimović, Faculty of Economics & Business at the University of Zagreb; Jelena Curać, Assistant Director of Information Technology, CHIF and Ana Gongola, Country Head Croatia, Sandoz which have, inter alia, talked about structural challenges of healthcare systems after COVID-19, and the innovation and transformation of patient care and the digitization of healthcare.

Ana Gongola, Country Head Croatia, Sandoz has pointed out that the generic pharmaceutical industry is the optimal solution for both the patient and the system, but also for the society as a whole. Through continued long-term investments in the highest quality modern therapy at an affordable price, investments in EU manufacturing, and raising the health literacy level, the generic industry is ensuring a sustainable future for healthcare and better access to patient care.

Although Croatia is happy to point out the examples of the use of technology where the healthcare for the future is being created, and it is not lagging behind other countries in terms of expertise and knowledge, it seems as if these examples are still exceptions and not the rule. While the focus of other countries is on the artificial intelligence implementation and advanced technological solutions in healthcare, Croatia's focus is still on financial recovery.

“The current healthcare financing system is unsustainable. Indicators of this are the continuous recoveries. Over HRK 250 million of new debt is created on a monthly basis. Without larger allocations for healthcare, primarily from the State’s budget, the problem of debt accumulation will not be solved. On the other hand, higher allocations should be accompanied by better treatment outcomes and better healthcare quality,” added Hrvoje Šimović, Faculty of Economics & Business at the University of Zagreb.

Jelena Curać, Assistant Director of Information Technology, CHIF has pointed out that for the last two decades, the Croatian healthcare system has been investing and working on digitalization in order to facilitate and modernize the provision and use of its services. Healthcare is full of challenges, so in our effort to optimize the system we experts are monitoring the established processes on a daily basis and are finding new advanced digital solutions that allow us to continuously implement new functionalities with the help of the latest technologies.

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