The added value of the EHP by Joseph Elborn – EHP President 2017

The added value of the EHP by Joseph Elborn – EHP President 2017

In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee created the internet. Many pondered, “what would be the consequences of such a connected world?” We have all seen and heard the many amazing positive aspects of this. But, today, we are starting to glimpse the unexpected negative outcomes of this tectonic shift: scientific corruption[1]; trust breakdown; community fragmentation. All are profoundly linked to the new technological environment we find ourselves in.

There are few other places where this is as evident as healthcare. Currently, healthcare is like a wild recipe. A dash of declining trust in doctors with a twist of googling your ailments; a splash of AI diagnosis with a slice of data privacy; a side of (quite mad) anti-vaxxers seasoned by chat forums. Plate size is, of course, also a problem (how do we reward amazing innovation without letting prices run riot?). And it’s being cooked up simultaneously by 28 chefs with varying amounts skill in 28 different kitchens.

On current evidence, the right mixes are not being found. Skills shortages[2]. Covert rationing[3]. Fragmentation of technology[4]. Silos. Inability to coordinate at scale[5]. Lack of funding for mental health. Poor prevention schemes. The list is endless. But one thing is true, predominantly the problem lies with politics. The decisions that must be made to create the right mix simply do not sit well with our modern soap opera democracy. As the English would say, “to be successful, you need to break a few eggs.” This is not possible when you are denying objective reality for political convenience.

We can do better. We need a bold new vision of healthcare. Instead of having healthcare as a ‘sacred cow,’ perhaps it is time to argue for the benefits of pan-European cooperation. Something that delivers the healthcare European citizens today and tomorrow deserve.

Imagine a world where a patient in Barcelona is being operated on robotically by a world-renowned neurosurgeon from Poland. Imagine a world where clinical trials use the blockchain and big data to get breakthrough drugs onto the market years earlier. Or a European ‘Healthcoin’ that allows better access for all patients by rewarding healthy behaviour and medical adherence. All this is possible, if we are bold.

This is why the European Health Parliament exists. A set of 55 rising stars in healthcare below the age of 35 representing patients, industry, healthcare professionals. An ambitious group who want to raise Healthcare’s game. A group who are not confined by old ideas. A group who will lead European healthcare in, and into, the future.

We started this journey on 17 October, and we invite you to come along.

[1] Homeopathy is not a thing!

[2] Doctors are second in rankings of professions that have the largest skills shortages, nurses are in the top 5

[3] Putting elderly patients on painkillers instead of giving them much-needed hip ops is not cool

[4] We don’t need different plugs and apps for each of the 100s of diabetes devices out there, we really don’t

[5] No European patient file, even after all these years? There is this thing called the cloud…

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