EU health care turns towards prevention

Photo: EPA Vytenis Andriukaitis presents the health report.

The health systems across the EU have shifted towards prevention and primary care, according to the 2019 State of Health report presented last Thursday by the Commission, the EU press service reported. The report was accompanied by countries Health Profiles which show some of the biggest trends in the transformation of the healthcare systems.

“Various surveys and debates across Europe prove us that health ranks among the top priorities of European citizens. I am particularly glad that health promotion and disease prevention are finally getting the attention they need. I can clearly see that this robust knowledge feeds into both national policymaking and EU level cooperation. I hope my successor will continue this exercise and that more Member States will follow up in sharing best practices,” Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said.

According to the report, the digital transformation of health promotion and disease prevention can result in winners and losers. People who would most benefit from mobile health and other such digital tools may be the least likely to have easy access to it. Furthermore, gaps in health care accessibility are still very much a reality in the EU. Both the clinical needs and socioeconomic characteristics of patients need to be accounted for when measuring access to health care and its many barriers.

Skill mix innovations among the health workforce show great potential for increasing the resilience of health systems. Promising examples of task shifting among health workers are found across the EU, particularly when it comes to enhancing the role of nurses and pharmacists. The product life cycle of medicines reveals ample scope for Member State cooperation in ensuring safe, effective and affordable therapies. And last but not least, vaccine hesitancy is a major public health threat all across Europe, which can be tackled by improving health literacy, countering disinformation and actively involving health workers.

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