by Symela Touchtidou @stouchtidou

One could call it a Herculean labor. Ιt would not be an exaggeration. Among the priorities set in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, component 3.3 is titled “Improve resilience, accessibility and sustainability of healthcare”.

Reforms in selected areas of the healthcare system will seek to provide “equal access to high quality health services, increased efficiency in services’ provision, digital transformation of health services and financial sustainability of the healthcare system”.

The “digital transformation of health services” will bring e-Health in Greece, by introducing reforms like the “Digital Patients’ Health Records, Cancer treatment/e-health program, Telemedicine, Hospital Logistics”.
Like we said, a Herculean labor.

There is no better time to open the discussion for a new, modern and more effective system.
“The digitalization of health services is expected to be one of the most important factors in the transformation of
the health sector in the coming years,” notes the study “Healthcare 4.0 – Digital Transformation of the Healthcare Sector, which was developed by Deloitte for the Digital Transformation Observatory of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).

From patient to ‘consumer of health services’

“The industry will be shaped by the needs and expectations of this new ‘consumer of health services’, who expects upgraded experiences, with key features being personalization, comfort, speed, and immediacy of service delivery“.

Towards this end, two major changes are to be expected:

  • First, changes in the setting of healthcare, which will be gradually transferred from the hospital to the patient’s premises.
  • Second, changes in the way healthcare is provided, that is, increased emphasis on prevention and ‘cure’ of the
    disease before it occurs,” the study concludes.

The “Pissarides Committee” proposed specific tools to achieve digital transformation:
❚ Electronic Personal Health Records(ePHRs)
❚ Smart health and smart hospitals
❚ Telemedicine
❚ Expansion of the electronic prescription system in hospitals
❚ Upgrading the digital systems of hospitals and other health units/ information exchange between all health
care providers
❚ E-procurement system for hospitals
❚ Mega data and Real-World Evidence Data

 

Start from the basics: the Electronic Personal Health Records (ePHRs)

“It is unconceivable for a developed country not to use Electronic Personal Health Records (ePHRs),” Yannis Tountas, professor of Social & Preventive Medicine in the Medical School of the Athens University told GBF. “This should be the starting point. In Greece, we have been trying for years to introduce the ePHRs, without success. There are scattered ePHR programs that some private doctors and clinics use. But this is not working. There should be a harmonization of all these different programs.”

Papageorgiou General Hospital: Greece’s first smart hospital

In Thessaloniki, the Papageorgiou General Hospital  is the first that introduced smart hospital technologies in Greece. Not to a full extent, but it is a start.

 

“Modern technology, through the use of automation, telecommunications and information systems, ensures security, autonomy, adaptability and high efficiency,” Michalis Karaviotis, the hospital’s President told Greek Business File.
“The Papageorgiou General Hospital has realized that there are almost unlimited possibilities when its resources are interconnected and interact. Thus, with the use of Communication and Information technologies, the ‘Papageorgiou’
aspires to improve the quality of patient care, the cost of services, and the security and privacy of patients, and to deal with possible shortages of staff and space.” 

 

You can read all about the new trends in the healthcare sector, the investment opportunities, the first efforts to digitize the Greek National Health System, the pioneers of the sector (the stories of Docandu and BookingClinic) as well as the story of  Skevos Zervos, “The Father of Telemedicine”, the Greek doctor who in the 1930s developed a marine telemedicine system in the  the January/February 2021 issue of Greek Business File, available here