Digitalization for Better Treatment Outcomes and Sustainable Healthcare
The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham) organized a business breakfast on the topic of digital transformation of healthcare, where the participants discussed, among other things, digital transformation of the healthcare systems, new healthcare technologies, as well as health data and data management in healthcare. “It is evident that there are quality individual solutions when it comes to digitalization and IT in Croatia, but what is missing is the bridge to link them into one functional digital unit. Harmonization of the entire system is one of the greatest challenges in future steps towards the improvement of eHealth services. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by competent authorities’ conscientiousness and understanding regarding the necessity to upgrade eHealth and find resources for further upgrades, among others, in EU funding,” said Andrea Doko Jelušić, Executive Director of AmCham Croatia.
“Unfortunately, the implementation is not in line with Croatia’s potential when it comes to the digitalization of healthcare, health institutions and services. The digitalization of healthcare is inevitable, but we are under the impression that the so far progress and improvements are, unfortunately, not the result of the systematization and structuring of the system, but that they have mostly been triggered by the pandemic and the overall public healthcare situation,” added Ljubiša Mitof-Višurski, General Director at AbbVie.
The panel discussion following the introductory speeches addressed the implementation of digital tools and solutions in the healthcare system, treatment outcomes records, improving the quality of services and a personalized approach to treatment.
“If we look ahead, the National development strategy for the development of healthcare defines the digitalization of the healthcare system and services as one of its priorities. The specific objectives under the National plan that builds up on the National development strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030 include a series of measures related to the digital transformation of healthcare, the most important of which are the establishment of digital solutions in health information infrastructure of the Republic of Croatia for promoting a healthy lifestyle and prevention of diseases, developing a network bridge between all unconnected healthcare service providers as well as launching digital platforms and systems for education and patient communication,” said Andreja Matkun, Head of Software Certification Division at the Ministry of Health.
Jelena Curać, Assistant Director for Information Technology at the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, agreed with Ms. Matkun and added that, with regards to the challenges in the healthcare system, new digital solutions which include data and information usage in the optimization of the system from the aspect of service providers and patients are necessary.
Mark J. Davis, General Director at Roche, added that secondary data usage will contribute to the realization of the dream of better treatment outcomes and a more cost-effective healthcare system. Data usage in the healthcare system enables a more transparent and improved healthcare system management and decision making on the most profitable investment into new technologies. “We must assure the patients that the shared data will be used solely for acquiring new insights, with the overarching aim of improving the outcomes of their treatments by personalizing them. Sharing the data meets the prerequisite of continuous acquisition of new insights and experiences that will positively be very valuable to healthcare workers in their efforts to ensure the best treatment outcomes possible,” concluded Mr. Davis.
Bernard Gršić, State Secretary at the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society pointed out that the digitalization of business brings its challenges, as well. It is not just about the challenges of training the employees in new modi operandi, it is about a radical change in the modi operandi, data protection and defense against cyber-attacks. Digital transformation impacts all sectors of the economy and changes the way we live, work and communicate. Investing in strategic digital capacities and infrastructure, honing skills and modernizing interaction between the public administration and the citizens will support our future development.