The authors of Diagnostics on the Sustainability and Resilience of the National Health System, whose recommendations will be presented Wednesday, call for a greater focus on disease prevention, and investment in population screening and early diagnosis.
In addition to focusing on prevention, “to keep the population healthy for as long as possible in their lives,” the experts also recommend investing in home health care and digital health care associated with such care.
“Not only to free up hospital resources, but also because treatment and recovery in natural ‘habitat’ is more beneficial for patients,” they add, noting that there are technological solutions for remote monitoring products and services that should be promoted and used in these cases.
The work, which will be presented today at the Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, will bring together a set of 43 recommendations with levels of agreement of more than 75%, agreed upon by a panel of 37 experts from various health fields.
Experts also point to the need to develop and strengthen literacy among the population, and to strengthen disease prevention strategies.
They consider that “a strong and cross-sectional response is necessary, only through the integrated management of resources and the interdependence of the various sectors (public, private, social and collaborative) working in the field of health”.
Experts argue that the focus should be on a “healthier, more resilient society,” noting that currently, less than 1% of the health budget is invested in disease prevention. This, they insist, “shows that the system is unable to respond to current epidemiological trends”.
The expert group, which included specialists such as former Health Minister Adalberto Campos Fernández, María do Sio Machado, who was High Commissioner for Health and headed Infarmed between 2017 and 2019, and former Director General of Health Constantino Sakelarides, among others, advocates promoting intersectoral campaigns – which includes health and education – to promote literacy of citizens on modifiable risk factors.
Another recommendation is to deepen the local dimension of health care delivery, through decentralization, and the application of electronic health record (EHR) throughout the health system.
“The proliferation of various user health information management systems without ensuring interoperability creates a lot of inefficiency and discomfort for the user and a lot of waste, with redundant testing and consultations and, at times, a lack of knowledge about the basic information that best provides care in urgent or emergency situations They assert.
Experts also suggest that primary health care become more “designed”, giving it greater responsiveness and variety of services.
Another recommendation for a more sustainable and resilient health system is to invest in health promotion, with physical exercise and healthy eating programmes, for example, to control risk factors and delay or prevent the onset of disease.
In the area of population health, they also recommend identifying the causes associated with the “poor quality of life of the population over 65 years of age”, defining specific actions to improve the quality of life of this population, and regulating business activities and practices that affect health, such as advertising and easy access to harmful products such as Tobacco or alcohol.
In the field of environmental sustainability, experts recommend reducing the obsolescence of medical equipment in hospitals. They also talk about reducing waste and integrating contracting mechanisms, whether incentives or commitments related to environmental sustainability performance.
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