The Role Of Health Insurance In European Healthcare Sustainability – European health systems are facing major challenges. In addition to an aging population, the rise of chronic diseases and current constraints on public finances, European healthcare systems now need to provide even better care with fewer resources. Traditional health care systems — designed to deliver acute care — cannot meet these challenges without fundamental transformation. AbbVie and the European Steering Group (ESG) for Sustainable Healthcare are working to raise awareness of this complex issue and develop, test and scale solutions across Europe and beyond.
The European population is aging. By 2050, nearly 40 percent of Europeans will be over 60, up from just 17 percent in 2000.
The Role Of Health Insurance In European Healthcare Sustainability
The population is also decreasing. In many European countries, where the birth rate is below the replacement rate of 2.1 percent, it is more important than ever to keep people healthy and productive for as long as possible.
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Chronic diseases are closely related to age, meaning that the older you are, the more likely you are to develop at least one chronic condition, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic disease treatment is costly: Currently, chronic disease treatments consume 80 percent of the €700 billion healthcare budget across Europe. Chronic disease also costs lives: 86 percent of deaths in Europe are linked to chronic illnesses. But since the 2008 financial crisis, health care resources have remained flat or decreased in most European countries. If something is not done, unsustainable health care systems will soon face major problems.
AbbVie has long been engaged in working on the topic of healthcare sustainability. Esteban Plata, President International, Western Europe and Canada for AbbVie, says: “Future generations deserve high-quality healthcare. In recognition of the huge challenges facing governments across Europe, AbbVie is committed to creating and proposing practical solutions to support them in delivering high-quality care to their populations.
Bringing together expertise from policymakers, healthcare professionals, scientific communities, patient organizations, academia and industry, AbbVie helped found the European Steering Group (ESG) for Sustainable Healthcare, a multi-stakeholder group dedicated to improving healthcare sustainability. Collaboration, communication and sharing of best practices.
Under the leadership of ESG Chair Mary Horney, Ireland’s former Minister for Health, the group has taken a unique and proactive approach to addressing the sustainability of European healthcare systems.
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Instead of creating another think tank, AbbVie and ESG created a “do-tank” in 22 European countries and Canada, Turkey and Israel. In each country, strong multi-stakeholder partnerships and working groups have been formed to reflect on key challenges facing national or regional health care systems and to develop solutions to them.
As a result, more than 30 pilot projects have been launched. These pilots aim to identify problems, test new solutions, and generate evidence to demonstrate that sustainable practices not only save healthcare systems money, but also deliver better patient outcomes.
For healthcare systems to become sustainable and sustainable, some preconceived notions must change. AbbVie and ESG want to demonstrate the value of investing in health. A healthy population is more productive; As the European population ages and shrinks, keeping people active and productive longer becomes a top priority. Investment in health care, especially prevention and early intervention, is a wise decision for both social and economic reasons. Early diagnosis and treatment can help limit long-term disability, reduce health and social welfare costs. Prevention is a powerful — and currently underutilized — tool to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Pilot programs led by AbbVie and ESG are providing evidence and data to help policymakers and other stakeholders make more strategic health care decisions.
“When the health system treats and cures the patient, the health system does not take advantage of it. If you get someone into work sooner, the welfare system benefits.” — Mary Harney, former Irish Health Minister
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More is needed to change mindsets about the value of health care: understanding and assessing the economic benefits of high-quality health care for health care systems and economies. Harney says: “When the health system treats and cures a patient, the health system does not take advantage of it. If you employ someone sooner, the welfare system benefits.
“If all policies can be health-proofed, the Minister of Transport or the Minister of Agriculture will have to examine the health impact of their policies.” — Mary Harney, former Health Minister of Ireland
She suggested that national and EU policy makers should “health-proof” all new policies. Currently, the Irish legislative process requires all new policies to be scrutinized to determine their impact on issues such as poverty, rural protection and gender equality. Harney proposed adding health to the list. “If all policies can be health-proofed, the transport minister or the agriculture minister will have to examine the health impact of their policies. Many of these other areas have a huge impact on health and currently the health system has to pick up the pieces and pay the bills.
There is no single “silver bullet” solution to ensure that healthcare systems across Europe can continue to deliver high-quality, accessible care, nor is there a single organization that can achieve this goal alone. AbbVie and ESG believe that sustainability requires all healthcare stakeholders: healthcare providers, policymakers, academics, patient organizations and industry — to collaborate, communicate and build strong partnerships.
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Given the complexity of the social and economic impact of health care and the strong links between health, work ability, employment and social care, different sectors and ministries must work together to ensure policies and practices are consistent and strategic. Effective cross-sectoral collaboration can reduce waste in health and social care, while increasing outcomes for patients, the workforce and communities. The future of Europe’s healthcare systems depends on it.
For more information about AbbVie’s sustainable healthcare and to learn more about pilot programs, please visit our website.
Log in to access content and manage your profile. If you don’t have an account you can register here. A digital transformation will enable private health insurers in Europe to control costs, attract new customers and retain existing ones, and influence the quality and quantity of care delivered.
Digital—the near-instant ability to connect people, devices, and other physical objects anywhere—is now an integral part of many businesses and our daily lives. From booking airline tickets to managing our finances to buying anything, digital has brought many options and services to our fingertips.
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The European healthcare industry has been very late to the table, but this is changing. Many private health insurance (PHI) companies are now embracing digital to transform both how they interact with customers and how they manage their organizations.
& Company gathered the CEOs of ten European PHI companies for a roundtable focused on digital transformation. At a roundtable held in London in January 2018, CEOs reflected on their companies’ approaches to digital and the opportunities for value capture that the digital customer experience offers. The roundtable concluded with a discussion of the most important factors for a successful digital transformation.
Most European PHI companies have traditionally operated as passive payers; They collected premiums and paid claims based on relatively crude actuarial analyses. However, these companies are shifting from payer to player models—they are becoming more active agents, attracting more customers with a range of product offerings, controlling costs, and influencing the quantity and quality of care provided. This change requires new business models, including the digitization of many customer interactions and other activities. Indeed, digital has rapidly become the center of innovation in PHI, becoming a top priority for European CEOs (Exhibit 1).
Other European industries (especially retail) are making extensive use of digital to mine opportunities to interact and engage with consumers, improve customer experience and increase operational efficiency. However, PHI companies have yet to capture the full potential of these opportunities. CEOs agree that digital transformation will help their companies in many areas; Half of them chose customer service as the area where digital will have the biggest near-term impact (Exhibit 2).
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CEOs believe digital has a positive impact on customer satisfaction. Digital channels are already helping them improve the customer experience by increasing the frequency of their contacts with customers and, in some cases, enabling them to provide seamless services and support (e.g., the ability to create a new contract with a single click). They agree that it’s important to remember that digital isn’t always a direct solution to customer problems—rather, it often enables a better customer experience.
Going forward, digital PHI will allow companies to provide high-quality medical services with greater flexibility, such as zero wait times. It helps companies reduce costs both directly (e.g., through improved operations) and indirectly (e.g., through better utilization management). Additionally, digital makes it easier for PHI companies to expand their offerings. For example, companies can put a
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