Virtual Panel Debates Europe’s Public Health Future

In Global, Global Featured by Julie Pascault

AHF Europe and partner ProMIS hosted a webinar last month titled “Benefits of Integrated People-Centered Care in Times of Crisis: Moving Towards More Efficiency in European Health Systems” which included a productive debate among public health experts from across the region.

The event focused on the need for more people-centered approaches in healthcare, both in the times of crisis and beyond. Key topics discussed were about integration for improved efficiencies, building important technical expertise and recommendations to empower patients in their treatment processes.

“Strengthening healthcare in the European Union requires a more ambitious EU health budget and stronger prevention, with a common vaccination calendar,” said Juozas Olekas, a Member of European Parliament from Lithuania. He added that increased investment in health research was also needed, along with improving ways for patients to more easily identify and reach treatment facilities.

Maddalena Illario, an endocrinologist at the University of Naples Federico II added, “the COVID-19 crisis has underlined the need for shorter communication chains between health professionals and health policy makers. Authorities should take into account all relevant voices when setting up preparedness plans—and not only in the midst of public health emergencies.”

In addition to COVID-19, the panel also discussed the need for clarification on the distinction and intersections between integrated and people-centered care (PCC). Integrated care addresses the coordination between different health services and institutions and how services are delivered. While PCC is broader and focuses on the needs of persons, patients, families, and communities and seeks to shape the delivery of services, from prevention to medical care and treatment.

“One of the barriers for implementation of people-centered care is the traditional way in which care is provided,” said Anna Zakowicz, Deputy Bureau Chief for AHF Europe. “We must look beyond the biomedical paradigm and take a more holistic approach to healthcare, with a stronger focus on prevention.

The virtual session helped to send a coordinated message to European institutions and also served as preparation for AHF’s larger event with European Parliament later this month – “Strengthening the EU Response in Times of Global Health Threat: From Bremen 2007 to COVID-19 and Beyond”. Register here for that session today!

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