HCP News, December 2012

Health Consumer Powerhouse


Dear friends,

As the year draws to an end, Health Consumer Powerhouse has
the pleasure of thanking you for excellent co-operation
during 2012 sending Season’s Greetings and a last up-date of
Health Consumer Powerhouse actions during the year! This
newsletter contents the following issues:

  1. EHCI – the handbook on healthcare systems!
  2. Setting the standard for hepatitis care – EHepI
  3. Medequality
  4. EU patient mobility
  5. Arab Health

1. EHCI – the handbook on healthcare systems!

Published since 2005, the
Euro Health Consumer Index
(EHCI) has become a standard reference source for everyone in the need of reliable, up-to-date facts about national healthcare systems in 34 European countries. The monitoring and analyses provide unique and easily accessible data about areas such as patient rights and information, waiting times, treatment outcomes, the generosity of each national system as well as access to pharmaceuticals.

– On a monthly base, more than 2 000 unique visitors consult with the EHCI in the website of the Health Consumer Powerhouse, says the HCP webmaster Mr Hans Eriksson. Each time there is a new annual publication there are of course many more visitors but also the steady visitor level tells us about a sustainable interest in the Index.

– From our regular communication with governments and national health authorities we know that the EHCI as well as other Indices more and more serve as handbooks for experts, comments Dr Arne Bjornberg. Our indices provide lots of data available nowhere else in an easily digestible format. Further, our publications prove to have a long life-span through channels such as Euractive, Google and today also Facebook.

On Google, “Euro Health Consumer Index 2012 report” presently indicates 5.8 million hits.

2. Setting the standard for hepatitis care – EHepI

– Viral hepatitis belongs to the group of the top 10 infectious killer diseases in Europe: 125,000 Europeans die from viral hepatitis each year. 23 Million Europeans suffer from chronic hepatitis type B or C. Despite its considerable impact, and although small efforts could already yield major improvements, viral hepatitis still does not receive much attention by health policymakers, says Achim Kautz, vice president of ELPA (European Hepatitis Patient Association).

– For this reason, ELPA are pleased that the Euro Hepatitis Index is now available. For the first time, we now have an overview about how states perform in the struggle against viral hepatitis how in EU 27 + Norway, Switzerland and Croatia. Now we are able to share existing best practice examples amongst all countries, and work on solutions on a national as well as a European level. This index is an innovative tool to fight against hepatitis, declares Mr Kautz.

Population screening especially in risk groups is not conducted systematically in most EU Member States, making it the weakest spot of hepatitis care policies in comparison to prevention and treatment. This is one of the key results of the “Euro Hepatitis Care Index”, a comparison of the performance of hepatitis care in 27 EU Member States, Switzerland, Norway and Croatia, which has been published on 6 November in Brussels in the framework of a conference supported by the Cypriot EU Presidency. Consequently, a large proportion of infections will be detected late, leading to secondary damage and making it more likely that patients unknowingly pass on the virus. This finding confirms observations made by patients’ associations and practitioners.

Tatjana Reic, ELPA President, comments: “Even rich countries like Germany do not perform well on screening. We have the doctors, nurses and facilities in Europe, many are excellent, but they do not treat as many patients as they could because there is no effective and systematic screening to detect patients early. Unrecognised hepatitis leads to severe damage of the liver and cancer which makes an infection with hepatitis a potentially life-threatening condition.”

The Euro Hepatitis Care Index has been put together by Swedish think tank Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) on behalf of and funded by ELPA. First place is held by France, followed by Slovenia and Germany.”

(Quote from one of numerous media clippings on the EHepI).

3. Medequality

The EU healthcare market is characterized by huge inequalities with regard to access to pharmaceuticals. As the above graph reveals, such inequalities are not only a matter of financial resources but can be explained by variations in therapy practice, political priorities, import restrictions and so forth. Or – which is even more upsetting from the patient point of view – the gaps and anomalies can be totally idiosyncratic, depending mainly or entirely on local administrative and/or professional culture streaks.

Health Consumer Powerhouse has developed the diagnostic tool “Medequality™” to identify, measure and describe the variations in pharmaceuticals access and practice. This is a resource of great value to those who want to market and advocate change. For further information about Medequality, please contact Dr. Arne Bjornberg, HCP (arne.bjornberg@healthpowerhouse.com).

4. EU patient mobility

Positioned by the Brussels EU weekly European Voice as a patient mobility authority, the Health Consumer Powerhouse president is optimistic about the growth of patient mobility information. In an EV article Dec 6 Johan Hjertqvist and DG Sanco Director General Paola Testori Coggi express expectation for a 2013 breakthrough of patient information to support cross-border healthcare. Mr Hjertqvist has already presented his views on this topic in EV May 19, 2011 and Jan 5, 2012.

Full EV article.

5. Arab Health

Many Arabic countries, especially around the Persian Gulf, have a high per capita spend on healthcare. Patient mobility is a growing phenomenon, with more and more patients looking for regional care options rather than going to Western Europe or the US for treatment, which used to be the pattern. Johan Hjertqvist is invited to lecture at the Arab Health Congress Jan 28-31, 2013, in Dubai. His topic will be: What patient mobility requires when it comes to patient information and outcome transparency and how healthcare management can make open outcomes accounting a competitive force.

For comments and questions about this letter, please turn to: info@healthpowerhouse.com.
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