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Rethinking the Healthcare Ecosystem

Venice, 11/10/2019 - 13/10/2019, Aspen Seminars for Leaders

The healthcare ecosystem is changing very rapidly and we need to drive that change – not be driven. In rethinking health, welfare and the lifecycle, innovation is key: it is a social priority, we might even call it a “Renaissance of Innovation”. We need to recall our core values and apply them to modern discoveries

The reality of scarce resources is a major issue: “Is there enough for everyone? Some for all? All for some?” The system needs to be optimized. While it is clear that it will not be possible to guarantee “all for all”, how do we choose between “all for some” or “some for all”? This is a societal choice that must be undertaken. Each decision enables innovation to benefit everyone, but nobody should be left behind in the process.

For this health revolution, we need new models. As a big amount of data becomes available, patients must still be treated as individuals and put at the center of any evaluations. Art. 32 of the Italian Constitution speaks of individuals, indeed. In order to prioritize activities, it is fundamental that knowledge and competencies be increased within institutions.

Einstein said: “To change a system, you must change the mindset with which you designed that system.”

Economic sustainability remains the dilemma: any transition needs to ensure sustainability as well as affordability. Sustainable innovation for sustainable systems. From patients to people, from specific interventions to lifelong health management, from healthcare to welfare: this takes us from silos to an integrated multidisciplinary holistic approach, from single-sector approaches to multisectoral one. We need to stop merely reacting to symptoms or illnesses and start training people and policy makers to anticipate future issues. From a rigid budget approach to agility and flexibility, we need to respond to changes more quickly. A change in the mindset from a health system to a health economy might create a proper reward system, moving us toward activities that reward value creation, thereby achieving sustainable systems.

Policy makers and industry leaders need to learn different ways to communicate, from VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) to other new positive acronyms.

Optimism about complex solutions will help the regulatory ecosystem enhance innovations. We need a mechanism to enhance sustainability and universality and a regulatory ecosystem that extends and transcends boundaries between science and regulations, between products and the health system overall. New models of regulation, new assessment tools, new measures, more statistics, and new approaches will lead to breakthrough products. Data is the critical ingredient transforming the current landscape in a future that raises a number of unresolved issues: privacy, curation, security, trust, data ownership. A lot can be done: new models for cross-learning may be learned from the Singapore experience, for example.

Collaboration is the only way to create a new healthcare ecosystem. As we move from Healthcare to Welfare to Well-care or Social-Care, the system needs new competencies, new instruction, better communication and more collaboration.