The Triple Challenge to Save Healthcare

Núria Mas discusses solutions for the sector’s problems

26/02/2014 Barcelona

Núria Mas

One of the priorities of advanced economies is the sustainability of the healthcare system. However, resources are limited and spending is too high; good management is therefore more important than ever. The system faces the triple challenge of solving the equation of better health, lower costs and improved care. This was one of the conclusions reached by Núria Mas during a Continuous Education session organized by the Alumni Association.

In search of efficiency

She believes it is possible to meet this triple challenge. Various studies show that 30% of healthcare spending doesn’t result in better health; millions of euros are wasted without any benefit to patients.

“The triple challenge demands that we rethink how we spend and manage the healthcare budget,” she said, claiming it’s the only way we can achieve a more efficient healthcare system. “This changed mentality calls for the involvement of all stakeholders: patients, citizens, doctors, pharmacists and politicians.”

The priority is to identify the problem and this in turn requires reliable measuring tools. Big data offers tremendous possibilities in this realm.

The healthcare sector is a significant part of the Spanish economy. Spain spends 9.3% of GDP on the public health system, an amount that is likely to increase in the medium term after the country emerges from the worst of the economic crisis.

“If through good management we can save 10% of these resources, that would be a great step forward,” Mas said. Advances and improvements can be made while preserving the system’s spirit. “Our health is too valuable a jewel to lose,” she said.

A structural challenge

Mas said that partial solutions such as co-payment and reforming the selection of available services are worthless because we face a structural challenge under great financial pressure. “How can we create a health system that creates value, where the costs are justified by their therapeutic value?” She sees this as the key to facing up to the challenge.

To examine these questions in depth and other new ideas about healthcare management, IESE offers the Healthcare Management Program beginning on April 7 in Madrid.