Secretary General, European Public Health Alliance
Interviewed by Sofia Ribeiro, Young Gasteiner
Why do you consider the involvement of NGOs essential to achieve better health outcomes?
The involvement of NGOs leads to better decision-making, better implementation and better results for health. Our participation in health debates adds balance to the democratic process, and ensures legitimacy and practicability of decisions. NGOs can be the voice of common sense and especially of groups who are routinely excluded from policy-making, embracing the full range of diversity. These groups may include children and teenagers, refugees and migrants, unemployed people and people below the poverty line, homeless people, people suffering from mental health issues and addictions, Roma, LGBTQ, and many more. In the case of health, and for a given health problem, for example in chronic diseases, NGOs can represent the collective interest and experience of the workforce, patients’, families’ and carers’ perspectives and make sure their voice is heard in the public health debate. Continue reading
Director-General, health Bureau of Taichung City Government, Taiwan R.O.C.
What might be the biggest challenges concerning aging on the one hand and health and social care services on the other hand in Asian countries from your experience? What are some of the recurring challenges this country faces in this area?
The elderly people in East Asia are not so engaged. The main aim is to encourage our seniors to walk out of their houses and come to the communities, join various group activities. Because we know from the data that if you are alone, you are often more depressed and thus more at risk of suicide. In our program, elderly people are part of a group, which makes their lives more beautiful and valuable. Continue reading
Director of Policy, European Patients’ Forum
What are the impacts of the digital technology on the health care system from a patients’ perspective?
I can say that this is actually something we have not studied in depth yet, but it is really coming, since, clearly, it could be very transformative. If it means, that patients would have a greater range of accessible services in terms of leaving your home or not to get medical advice it is a very good thing, because most patients don’t want to go to the hospital if they don’t have to. They prefer to get advice close at home and I can imagine that it can be helpful as mentioned for carers of older people and parents and so on. It has a lot of potential, however, I am not sure in real life how much it will manifest. Continue reading
During the Greying baby boomers’ plenary today you made a point on Health Workforce. How can you make sure there is collaboration with the WHO and the European Commission? How can you make this binding and that the transition of workforce is not hampering any countries?
We have been working for a number of years with the Member States and stakeholders on Joint Actions. Joint Actions on programmes, which are funded through the EU health programme, where we bring stakeholders together to discuss important issues and health workforce has been one for many years. The first step that countries have to take is forecasting its health workforce. Health workforce is a very specific workforce, as it requires a long period of training before they are starting to give back their expertise. Without forecasting, we would take a leap into the dark. Countries cannot do this individually. Countries can’t calculate the needs for how many people to train because you need to factor in that these people might move. In addition, professions benefit from working in different settings, so it should be part of this circulation. Then we need to look at the skill mix. The skill mix has to be updated, hard and soft skills. Not just academic training but also the role of the doctor, nurse and pharmacist. The health systems of tomorrow are not going to be the same as the health systems we have today. Patients are also changing, they will not be passive, they will have knowledge about their conditions and our workforce need to have the skills to have dialogue with the new type of patient. Continue reading
Matthias Reumann received the Masters of Engineering in Electronics with the Tripartite Diploma from the University of Southampton in 2003 and continued his PhD studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Reumann focused on translational research in cardiac models and his PhD with summa cum laude in 2007. The research was awarded with two prestigious research awards by both clinical and biomedical professional societies. Reumann continued research in multi-scale systems biology at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY. His work focused on creating high resolution heart models that scale on supercomputers. He expanded his research interest to Genomics in 2010 at the IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences–Melbourne, investigating higher order interaction of single nucleotide polymorphisms in breast and prostate cancer.
In 2011, Reumann build up the healthcare research team at the IBM Research – Australia laboratory with focus areas in healthcare analytics, medical image processing and genomics. The goal in genomics was to bring next generation sequencing into a production environment in a public health microbiology diagnostic unit. Reumann moved back to Europe in December 2013 and joined the IBM Research – Zurich laboratory where his research focusses on sustainable, resilient health systems research to bridge the divide from bench to bedside to society. Continue reading