Care Beyond Cure. Cost is Hot Topic at 18th Healthcare Industry Meeting

26/10/2011

The soaring cost of healthcare in a climate of public spending cuts was a dominant topic at the 18th Healthcare Industry Meeting held on IESE's Barcelona campus over the past two days. The meeting, titled "Toward a Change of Model," and presided over by Profs. Núria Mas and Pedro Nueno and Research Associate Rosa M. Fité, featured speakers from the private and public sectors and the focus of many of the discussions was innovation.

José María Giménez Arnau, head of global medical affairs and health economics at Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG told a session chaired by Prof. Pedro Nueno that "the real challenge is uncertainty. What will happen in the next five years?" Some things are certain, however, such as the ageing population, and conditions associated with it, such as Alzheimer's. Healthcare costs are rising across the world at unsustainable rates, he said, leading to reactions on the part of governments and payers.

"The management of disease and diagnosis has a big impact on cost," he said, pointing out that the cost per patient in the United States is 5 times that of France. He said that business has to incorporate knowledge of diseases into brand strategies and must localize strategies based on customer insights, not on a one-size-fits-all policy. "It's a question of the right medicine for right patient at the right time," he said.

François Sarkozy, the president of Publicis Healthcare, said patient input was needed early in the R&D phase. He added that it was essential to ensure that value is delivered to all stakeholders, adding that the notion of value is not the same for patients as it is for other stakeholders.

"We need a shift in healthcare philosophy," Sarkozy said. "We need to talk about health beyond care, care beyond cure." Only 20 percent of a person's health is related to care, while 40 percent depends on behavior. "We need to go from sick care to healthcare," he said.

What this means is that patients need to take more responsibility. He predicted that two types of databases would be developed: one that is based on the individual's medical history and risk factors which could then be cross-matched with a collective database in order to arrive at the best adapted personal approach.

In a separate session on sustainable innovation, moderated by Prof. Magda Rosenmöller, Martin Erharter, a partner at Management Engineers, made the case for increased homecare to offset rising costs. Demography is not the only cost driver, he said. Technological innovation improves treatment but adds dramatically to cost. We have a growing capacity to treat diseases - and more diseases will become treatable - but it will be more expensive. However, remote technologies make it possible to carry out patient management, treatment and compliance at home. Home treatment can reduce costs by as much as 30 percent, he said.