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Healthcare Management

Patients’ and customers’ needs

and expectations today are chang- ing, and healthcare companies must be ready to evolve along with them. As we look at the current health- care landscape, there are several key factors fuelling new opportunities for industrial growth, while also forcing a change in the ways companies oper- ate and interact with governments and healthcare providers. Given the macr- oeconomic environment, there is a call for change in pricing models, as well as a commitment to patient outcomes and extending access in the develop- ing world. New technologies will be the crux of this global shift and critical to our ability to adapt for the future. The needs for medical research are global, but different parts of the world have different disease patterns and therefore research capacity building, especially in middle and low income countries will be an essential key to improve health. The goal of all entities involved in health should be to move

to a paradigm that considers health as a mutual investment function - shar- ing of knowledge, experience and capacity in the service of improving the health of people everywhere. To achieve this aim there is also

a clear and urgent need for better harmonization, coordination and governance among the diverse players in the healthcare sector. To effectively address the challenges of our time, we need new thinking, stronger inter- national cooperation and a redesign

of future governance mechanisms to allow the present, rather chaotic situ- ation to evolve into a landscape and framework, which is inclusive, collec- tive, sustainable and equitable. This is especially needed in countries where dramatic political reforms (e.g. in the Arab world) and austerity measures (e.g. in Greece), will ultimately lead to drastic reform processes in healthcare, concerning major issues in healthcare systems: restructuring, investments, financing, internationalization.

A multistakeholder approach between academia, governments, indus- try and the civil society will be required to find sustainable solutions. Innovative ways of maximizing the benefits from limited resources and ensuring that the gains of medical progress reach as many people as possible, have to be developed. Prevention of morbidity and premature mortality must be primary goals of any healthcare system and will be essential in managing the spiralling demands and costs resulting from the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Many prevention programs to date have provid- ed outstanding returns on investment – such as immunization, road trau- ma prevention, HIV prevention and tobacco control. Effective prevention requires persistence, time, sufficient finances, evidence and the political will to pass effective legislation and regulation. Prevention is for life – it must become an essential service as part of our health systems.

Dr. Mathias Bonk, a paediatrician with working experience in Germany, India and the United

Kingdom and trained in Tropical Medicine and International Health, is the Program Director of the World Health Summit, to be held at the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, Germany,

October 23rd-26th 2011 (www.worldhealthsummit. org). In addition, he is the Coordinator of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers and Medical

Universities, a collaboration of academic institutions of educational and research excellence that

recognizes its responsibility to improve global health. The M8 Alliance acts as a permanent platform for framing future considerations of global medical developments and health challenges.



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