World Government Summit, in partnership with consultancy firm KPMG, has issued a report on how positive transformations can be brought about in the health-care sector. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The time is now right for governments to lead positive transformations in the health-care sector, a report released by World Government Summit (WGS), in partnership with leading consultancy firm KPMG, has concluded.

The report, ‘Champions of Change: How Governments Can Lead the Transformation of the Healthcare Sector’, discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments to confront a major challenge in health care and play a key role in prioritising public health. It also adds that the “pandemic has demonstrated the need to transform health systems globally. Governments have had to coordinate the response, mobilise the public and private sectors and develop dynamic policies to implement and enforce that plan. This has shown that skills, creativity and resources can transform health care, when combined with the right leadership. Having led the way out of this crisis, governments have had an enduring role as leaders in the transformation of the healthcare sector”.

Mohamed Yousef Al Sharhan, deputy managing director of WGS, said: “Governments have the responsibility now to exchange and inspire global experiences and successful stories to implement positive impacts in their countries to improve their government work.”

Al Sharhan also highlighted the successful steps that had been taken by governments in the health-care sector, especially during the pandemic, in order to enhance abilities to make huge changes in a short period of time. This enhanced citizens’ health and wellbeing and overcame the challenges brought by the pandemic with less loss in system error with all decisions and work models.

Ahmed Faiyaz, the head of Healthcare Advisory, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “It is an inevitable truth that COVID-19 has enforced the need for transformation in health systems globally. Having led the way out of this crisis, governments in the region and elsewhere [are] at the forefront of efforts to shape and deliver health-care transformation. This comprehensive report offers a principles-based approach that each government can interpret according to its unique circumstances, needs, capabilities and resources.”

Principles influencing health policies

The report said: ‘Governments should build their health-care policies around eight principles. These include ensuring universal coverage and access; building patient-centred health care that contributes to reducing costs and improving quality; giving patients greater authority over their health needs; thinking holistically about the determinants of physical and mental health, regardless of national wealth; stimulating the best health outcome for patients by increasing the efficiency of service providers; building resilient systems with a large and agile workforce; encouraging public-private partnerships and strong supply chains; and leveraging power of data and digital technology.’

Creative partnerships

The report indicates that the pandemic has reinforced the belief that ‘governments and the private sector can be partners in health care. As governments play a key role in transformation, innovation and implementation will be in the hands of the private sector’.

‘Health-care innovation depends on innovators, researchers, investors, developers, regulators, policy makers and users. Governments need to provide clear rules, encourage collaboration, and help push good ideas to the market quickly,’ the report said.

In pursuit of a digitally-enabled, people-centred future of health care, the report noted that governments ‘will need to take the lead as enablers of innovation and partners in transformation. Regulatory flexibility, investments in technology and people, and support of the right public and private partners will allow governments to become catalysts of transformation’.

The report notes that “digital health care is by no means the preserve of wealthier countries. Developing countries seeking universal access to health care are increasingly looking at the advantages that digital technology offers to deliver services at much lower cost, that would have been possible without technology’.

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Key recommendations

The report recommended that patients should be empowered through digital technology with quick access to information. It also suggests increasing the size of primary-care clinics, working on developing specialised services in the community and investing in non-medical interventions to encourage healthy habits and making payment systems more transparent.

The report concluded that the pandemic has shown that many governments around the world are willing to make extraordinary efforts to protect the health of their people. This unity of purpose must now be harnessed to create health-care systems focused on supporting each one of us in maximising our physical and mental health.