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Global Health Policy Forum

Global health issues were the focus of the June 14 global health policy forum hosted by Health Affairs in Washington, D.C. The recorded event, titled “Global Health: Patient Safety, Cancer Care, Universal Health Coverage and Innovation,” attracted more than 150 experts in the health and healthcare fields and covered various topics concerning universal healthcare and patient safety.

Health Affairs is an esteemed academic journal which publishes health policy research and theory. Its mission is to address global health issues such as access to and quality of healthcare. The U.S. as well as international legislators and health leaders often cite Health Affairs in official legislation, and its publications and events are critical to global healthcare decision making.

Present at the forum, the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is a global healthcare initiative of the Qatar Foundation. WISH’s presence at the forum was significant given that its mission to improve global health might influence legislators in Washington, D.C. As CEO of WISH Egbert Schillings said, “The ultimate purpose of WISH is to influence decision makers using the best possible evidence available.”

WISH was created in 2012 when Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar addressed global delegates at the Global Health Policy Summit in London and urged them to work together to prevent and to treat diseases. WISH facilitates global healthcare innovation, and the initiative collaborates globally with groups like Health Affairs in order to help achieve this goal.

Health Affairs and WISH’s global vision and willingness to cooperate make events like this month’s global health forum possible and effective. As Professor Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH, said, “Our partnership with Health Affairs is evidence of the global impact of WISH research.”

Health Affairs and WISH’s research have the power to positively change global health issues as they work together to share accurate health research with decision makers worldwide. Their partnership is effectively enabling world leaders to solve global health issues through cooperation, collaboration and a dedication to sharing valuable information with decision makers.

Addie Pazzynski

Photo: Health Affairs

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The inaugural World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) – a conglomeration of entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and technicians in the health space – convened last week in Qatar. As its title suggests, WISH serves as an arena for international delegates to create and implement innovative, nontraditional solutions to pressing issues in global health.

One participant, Londoner Lord Darzi of Denham (chairman of the Institute of Global Innovation at Imperial College), succinctly stated after the announcement of the Summit that “WISH is about action.”

Qatar’s newfound consideration as a hub for frontline innovation- principally through the Qatar Foundation- landed the nation the opportunity to host the prestigious two-day summit event. The Foundation has been on the forefront of the nation’s “visionary national health strategy” and initiated a first-of-its-kind investigation into the healthcare systems of eight major world players, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, India and Qatar. The Global Innovation Diffusion Report, unveiled on the second day of the summit, presented a well-researched report card of how each nation fosters and incorporates innovation to maximize health outcomes for their citizens.

The report noted both victories and areas in need of improvement for the eight nations of study. Each succeeded on a general level in identifying and addressing doctors and involving patients in treatment. Unfortunately, however, every nation but Qatar fell short in matching research-based suggestions with real changes in the health care space. Expert assessments of appropriate technological or practical innovations were ignored for different reasons in each nation.

In Spain and the United Kingdom, the least innovative countries, funds for research and development are scarce. New ideas simply cannot get off the ground because there is no money to put wind in their sails to begin with. Australia, Brazil and South Africa were slightly more successful than their European counterparts, but need to improve incentives for academics and policymakers who spread innovation. The United States and India showed a consistent, but small, gap between the ideal and reality.

The thorough case study concluded that innovation is most successfully spurred in the United States when incorporated into (or alongside) insurance and the accompanying payment system. Incidentally, the report identified the rollout of Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) programs as a major success for the U.S. in terms of innovation implementation. PCMH programs encourage primary care providers to tailor payments around patient outcomes and foster cooperation between medical and social services.

Moving forward, hot areas of progress for medical innovation will likely include: the application of mobile technology to share and store medical information; policymaking that encourages clinicians to adopt new ways of working; mobilization of resources to allow coordination between researchers and clinicians; and the development of an “innovation culture” and leadership among front line health care professionals.

Delegates representing our nation will undoubtedly confer about these recent findings and carve out a designated space for innovation in discussions touching on future policies, programs and technologies.

Casey Ernstes

Sources: Gulf News, NCQA, PR News Wire, World Innovation Summit for Health: Home, World Innovation Summit for Health: Global Diffusion
Photo: Vintage 3D