Health Care Innovation

Loutradis Dimitris

1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology School of Medicine National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The exploitation of pharmaceutical innovation has resulted in a 15 – 24% reduction in mortality from malignant diseases worldwide, helping to save resources and ensure productivity by reducing hospitalizations and lost working days.

There are currently a large number of new drugs under development aiming at some of the most serious health problems, and the crucial question that arises is: will the patients and the health system in Greece be able to benefit from this huge stream of innovation?

What is also unique today regarding the healthcare system is the comprehension of the patients for whom the drugs are designed, that is, rather than deciding what patients need, the patients are encouraged to genuine discussions for what they feel they need. Patients are a changing landscape. We are all savvier consumers, better educated and attuned to the choices available to us. If something does not work for us, we are quickly looking for an alternative. It is therefore important in the empathize phase of design thinking to spend time talking to patients, observing them, putting ourselves in their shoes, trying the things we are asking them to do. Only then can we really understand and define their point of view—what they need. At this stage, it is clear that this patient has this need because of this problem.

On the other hand, the aging population, the increase in chronic diseases and the scarce resources necessitate the elaboration and implementation of a specific action plan that will ensure access to pharmaceutical innovation in a financially sustainable way. This plan should include emphasis in the prevention and adoption of multi-morbidity management strategies, liberalization of funding for innovation, financing through the rational pricing of off-patent medicines, establishment of appropriate health technology evaluation mechanisms to compensate for the appropriate treatment and improvement of the management capacity of the system through the acceptance and adoption of pharmaceutical innovation.