"Current methods of delivering healthcare are simply not sustainable in the face of demographic changes and the expected chronic disease wave," says Jeremy Bonfini, Executive Vice President for Global Services at HIMSS. "We need to have IT systems that give healthcare providers more time to treat patients and allow spending less time in chasing slow moving, missing or unavailable paperwork."
More than 30% Europeans will be 65 or over in 2025. Chronic diseases such as diabetes are likely to double or even triple over the next 20 years, leading to a shortage of specialists and care givers. Even today, staff costs are estimated to account for 50-70% of healthcare costs.
Healthcare spending rising faster than economic growth
Today, France spends 11% of its GDP on healthcare, Germany 10.6% and Belgium 10.3%. For most European countries healthcare represents the greatest percentage of budget growth in terms of expenditure.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Europe’s multi-challenged healthcare systems require an increase in spending which outstrips economic growth. Many governments will have to make difficult choices to sustain their healthcare systems: curb the growth of public spending on health, cut spending in other areas or raise taxes, according to OECD analysts.
Dutch health insurers and the Netherlands Bureau for Public Policy Analysis have already announced that the annual health insurance premium per person is set to rise by 300 euro over the next four years since healthcare costs will rise by 4% per year, while the economy is expected to grow only by 1.25%.
"Our systems will collapse if we do not make radical changes," warns Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. "In times of fiscal austerity and rising deficits, smart spending is often more effective than cost cutting."
Europe's eHealth elite shows the way forward
A case study by the Asklepios Hospital Group in Germany showed that annual costs per patient could be reduced by 36.7% through the use of e-health solutions. CIO of Asklepios, Uwe Pöttgen, will be one of the keynote speakers at the European eHealth Week 2011 in Budapest. From France, Prof. Eric Lepage of AP-HP- Public Hospitals of Paris will share experiences from the modernization of the Hospital Information System for 72,000 healthcare professionals in 37 Parisian hospitals.
The eHealth Week has emerged as the only true pan-European eHealth platform: Germany will be represented by ten speakers, Sweden by seven speakers, Denmark and the UK by six speakers each. Country delegations from all EU Member States will be sending decision-makers to the High-Level Ministerial Conference on eHealth, which for the first time ever is opening its doors to all delegates of the eHealth Week. The industry exhibition at the World of Health IT is attracting some of the world's largestcompanies; AGFA and HP are Diamond Sponsors of the event; EMC, Intel and Telekom are Gold Sponsors.
"This is the one week in the year when the eHealth community of Europe gathers. You can focus more on networking, professional development and conduct more professional business here than you can during any other week of the year," says Jeremy Bonfini.
Registration is open at www.ehealthweek.org.
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