1.1 Health and Economy are Synergistic
Population health and well-funded resilient healthcare systems are indispensable for economic prosperity. The unprecedented global public health crisis in 2020 served as a strong reminder of the health-impact on economies. Now more than ever, healthcare systems are under tremendous pressure to accommodate growing numbers of patients and achieve better outcomes under strict budget constraints. Healthcare systems in the Middle East and Africa region are no exception.
1.2 External Shock/ Public Emergency
In cases of public emergencies or pandemics, disruptions in both supply and demand for healthcare are foreseeable. Across virtually every healthcare system, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended hospital activities as procedures were postponed or cancelled, and resources were redirected to treat COVID-19 cases. New routines for infection control, static number of ORs, diminishing staff and continually changing guidelines exacerbated the problem and added to the complexity of allocating healthcare budgets. While the total economic impact of deferring the elective surgeries during the pandemic is yet to be estimated, a spillover effect on non-COVID patients’ morbidity and mortality is inevitable.
As hospitals gradually return to normal operations and restart surgery lists, medical technology companies have a big role to play to help them face the backlog of patients and alleviate the capacity gap. Among the interventions considered are shifting procedures to an outpatient setting, digitalization and implementing better pathways to shorten hospital length of stays.
1.3 Transition towards value-based healthcare
Innovative technologies and solutions can deliver efficiencies for health systems and improved outcomes for patients. However, outdated models of financing and procurement – originally designed for buying low-cost goods at high volumes, or fee-for-service/product– are
ill-suited to purchasing innovative solutions that fundamentally alter patient pathways and the economy. A better approach are value-based healthcare models that consider care to be a long-term priority commencing at early diagnosis to months and often years after treatment. In contemporary economic terms, value aims to maximize patient outcomes through strategic investments in healthcare by spending wisely on interventions with measurable economic benefits for patients and society.
New ways of thinking about financing and investment models are therefore essential to achieve value and protecting sustainable universal health coverage. Rather than a narrow focus on volume and price, financing and procurement decisions should place value and innovation at their core. This encourages providers, funders, and patients to consider true cost’, which embraces the long-term outcomes, economic cost and benefits of a treatment.