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Private health care: its relevance and synergies with public health care

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Nicola Chiara. Strategic Partnership Manager. Otsuka

In recent years we have seen how, in all economic sectors, the emergence of new market segments that we had never imagined that bring values and huge applications, and in many cases, have facilitated the development of our daily lives.

This situation to a large extent is as a result of the change or rather the transformation of the economic outlook as we know it; the need to reinvent itself has contributed greatly in this metamorphosis that has disrupted almost all economic sectors.

Only one of them resists change: the public health system, the colossus that gives a service of great quality to the entire population, but with a system that needs profound renewal both structurally and in its business management, not to suffer its more than likely extinction.

The enterprise-level organization is notable for its absence or inadequacy, and the high degree of bureaucracy and involvement of managers define their idiosyncrasies not much given to big changes. If we also consider the differing public health care policies between each of the Autonomous Regions and the landscape of a difficult understanding between different decision makers and the pharmaceutical industry, it is understood that the health care system cannot boast of great advances in line with the new winds that are blowing.

Initiatives aimed at professionalizing health managers are multiplying to provide those responsible for health management with more agile tools to not only adapt to change, but to be able to anticipate them.

An ancient Chinese proverb says that every crisis is an opportunity: we could say that this circumstance is precisely what private health groups have been able to envision and have gradually been introducing in the Spanish health landscape, currently representing a quality alternative to an asphyxiated public health system. They are caught between budget cuts and overcrowding in health centres, cuts in research and so on that have affected both sides, private and public, in clear dispute over territory and protagonism.

According to data published in the latest IDIS (Institute for the Creation and Integration of Health) report, there are more than 7 million users of private health, to which we add 2 million assigned to administrative mutual (Isfas, Muface and Mugeju), preventing a further collapse of public health, and thus helping to greater sustainability of the system. Speaking of public health is to refer to ongoing downsizing and budgets; delays in waiting lists; co-payments; subsidised services; atomistic models of care management by community...

Private health claims its protagonism and its role a partner which we should count on to be included in the redefinition of the national health strategic plan. 26% of health spending is already directly charged to private healthcare, representing about 2.5% of GDP.

This article is a reflection and opens up a very interesting debate that is brewing in all health forums: Can public and private health care co-exist?

In my opinion, apart from coexisting, they should be able to create synergies that ultimately must give a better and higher quality health care for everyone.

Our hospitals have been and should remain an international benchmark for quality, innovation and high technological level, but this will surely happen anyway if we will be able to take advantage of the good work that the public and private sectors are able to put together.

After analyzing the different scenarios, we must be brave and consider some profound changes, and I will try to explain those below. They represent a new way of understanding the health care provision of the future, which undoubtedly brings together the different sensitivities of the public and private spheres.

The challenge of financing

Public-private collaboration in purchasing products and services should be a standard practice in the medium term, in a new framework where both buyer and seller share the risks and outcomes. The existing paradigm is finished and we are all obliged to undertake a thorough review, including the pharmaceutical industry sector, whose role should be more participatory in future decisions and be seen as a trusted member and not as a negotiator number of molecules.

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