Wien, 02.10.2019

Health Experts Call for Urgent Digitisation and Personalisation of Healthcare

Strong regional disparities in sustainability of European healthcare systems and availability of medicines highlighted at launch of FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index at the European Health Forum Gastein.

Leading healthcare experts, policy makers and advocates have called for the urgent implementation of digitisation and personalisation of healthcare, in order to deliver sustainable healthcare systems across Europe. The call came at the official launch of the  FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index at the European Health Forum Gastein today. 

The Index - which was led by an independent panel of healthcare experts from across Europe, in  partnership with Roche – gives a unique snapshot of the current status of 30 European healthcare  systems. It is based on over 1,890 data points on 57 individual healthcare measures from reputable public  sources such as WHO, OECD, Eurostat across 30 European countries. The Index measures each country’s  performance based on five vital signs: Access, Health Status, Innovation, Quality, Resilience. 

The findings of the Index demonstrated strong regional disparities in the sustainability of healthcare  systems across Europe, with Switzerland and Scandinavia currently leading the way, and most of the lower  ranks falling to countries that are further East, such as Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania. 

When it comes to market access delays and availability of medicines, the disparity between countries was  even more stark, with 86% of new medicines available to patients living in Germany compared to just 9%  in Latvia.  

In terms of innovation in healthcare, only a small number of countries ranked highly, including  Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, which is reflective of the geographical  concentration of pharmaceutical and medical technology investment. Spain, Norway and Italy performed  well on e-health initiatives and could be turned to as examples for other countries looking to build stronger foundations for digitisation of healthcare delivery. 

Today’s launch of the FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index included a panel discussion, focusing  on what is needed to establish a vision for healthcare systems in 2050. The panel was moderated by Bogi  Eliasen, Associated Partner at the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies and member of the Index expert  panel. He was joined by fellow expert panel member Mary Harney, former Tánaiste and Minister for Health in Ireland, along with a number of leading healthcare experts and policy makers, including: Dr. Paivi  Sillanaukee, Director General for the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health; Dr. Usman Khan, Chief  Executive of the European Patients Forum; Sarunas Narbutas, Chairman of Youth Cancer Europe; and  Joerg Rupp, Director at Roche Pharmaceuticals.  

Speaking from the launch, Bogi Eliasen, said:“Globally, one of the biggest challenges is the widening gap  between citizens with access to healthcare and those without. Going forward, developments in healthcare  systems will be shaped by data management, digital services and connectivity. We need to shift the focus from treatment to prevention, valuing the individual experience and leveraging technology as a tool to  assist healthcare professionals and caregivers, if we are to pave the path towards a truly efficient and  integrated healthcare system. By 2050, patients will have real-time oversight of how their data is being  used and the opportunity to exert their preferences. The challenge is to ensure that these developments  deliver free and fair access to new care opportunities for all, to realise universal and equal access to  healthcare.” 

The aim of the Index is to identify areas of improvement for the future, and to drive a Europe-wide  conversation on the need to act now to futureproof healthcare systems, in order to ensure patients will  get the care they need in the coming decades.     

Joerg Rupp from Roche, reflected on the value of the Index, saying: “I am delighted to have the  opportunity to join some of Europe’s foremost healthcare experts here in Gastein, to not only launch the  FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index but also reflect on the Index data to inform meaningful  conversations on the need to form sustainable healthcare systems that will meet the needs of future  patients. At Roche, we are committed to effecting change now, in partnership with others, with a view to  driving a future-focused dialogue about achieving healthcare sustainability. That dialogue is only possible  thanks to the detailed approach of the independent panel of healthcare experts who led this initiative,  ensuring we can raise the big questions and shine a spotlight on best practice models across Europe,  backed up by robust credible data.”  

Review the Index data by visiting, join the conversation using  #FutureProofIndex and follow the Index on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  

About European Health Forum Gastein 

The European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) was founded in 1998 as a European health policy conference.  It aims to provide a platform for all stakeholders from the field of health and beyond. Over the past  decade, the EHFG has established itself as an indispensable institution in the scope of European health  policy. It has made a decisive contribution to the development of guidelines and above all the cross-border  exchange of experience, information and cooperation. Leading experts participate in the annual  conference held in the Gastein Valley in the Austrian Alps for three days in October. 

Download the full Press Release on the right side.