A value-based healthcare system, a pending “revolution”

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«The whole is greater than the sum of its parts». Words said by Aristotle thousands of years ago. A global vision that perfectly defines the philosophy we should adopt when talking about value-based healthcare models. Because value is not reduced to one single area in healthcare, but is rather obtained by paying attention to multiple factors that we cannot identify separately. Only by analyzing them as a whole will they allow us to offer the patient the best possible experience with the best possible use of resources.

The last few decades have offered us real advances in science. We live longer and better, and, as much as this is good news, new challenges arise from it, such as responding to the needs of chronic diseases, managing multi-pathologies or evolving from reactive health to a much more proactive one. In this sense, a value-based healthcare system can be a great ally in responding to these challenges. A pending ‘revolution’ for which it is crucial to focus on two major points: innovation and collaboration.

On the one hand, it will come as no surprise to anyone to see that innovation plays a key role on the road towards the medicine of the future and in generating more value for patients. For us at Novartis, biomedical innovation has always been a part of our DNA. We firmly believe in the power of “reimagining science” to come up with disruptive solutions that allow us to address pathologies much more effectively and bring added value to patients through advanced treatments. This is where innovative platforms such as gene therapies, RNA or nuclear medicine come into play. Burgeoning techniques that have begun to show great potential against the main causes of death in our country, much like cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

In order to promote the creation of value for patients through innovation, it is essential to develop healthcare policies that foster research and drive us towards precision medicine. With these policies, we would also have the possibility of strengthening Spain’s role as a change-driving hub for biomedical innovation. But all of this represents a complex challenge that cannot be solved by any single organization on its own. This brings me to a second essential aspect to generate value in our healthcare system: public-private partnerships.

Improving the system requires the participation of all agents involved: academic, clinical, technological, hospital, political, pharmaceutical and patient organizations… Collaboration will be key to work not only on promoting innovation, but also on improving patient access to new treatments, streamlining public funding processes for new drugs and digitization.

For example, involving patients in spaces for dialogue helps us understand their needs and identify strengths and weaknesses in the current system. If we complement this information with the research and production capacity of the pharmaceutical sector, the talent of clinical professionals, the creation of knowledge in academic environments and, of course, the role of public institutions in the design of policies, we can co-create solutions that help us move towards a system that is optimized in all senses and that is also sustainable over time.

Convinced of this, at Novartis we promote collaborative initiatives such as the Strategic Alliance for the Improvement of the Healthcare Process, in which together with organizations from different healthcare fields, we seek to contribute our grain of sand to a better system from the point of view of medical care and the patient’s journey. In this project we work on aspects such as coordination between clinical professionals, the digitalization of processes and the empowerment of patients so that they can play a more active role throughout their experience.

In conclusion, and returning to Aristotle’s words, defining a value-based healthcare system is a domino effect, a chain reaction in which we cannot pay attention to one single factor, but must approach it holistically. We cannot design a system that promotes biomedical innovation without also fostering research talent or speeding up the arrival of new therapies to patients, just as we cannot move towards proactive health without also improving the patient’s medical care journey with screening and diagnostic techniques that promote the prevention of pathologies. Only if we work together will we be able to respond to all these challenges so that the whole -in this context, our healthcare system- is greater than the sum of its parts and we offer the greatest possible value to patients.

José Matías Pérez
Value, Access and Solutions Head at Novartis Spain