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Slovenian Ecosystem Launch

Posted By Matt Grek, 19 August 2016

Slovenian ECHAlliance Ecosystem Launch

in cooperation with CORAL Europe &, 18th Feb 2016

Brian O'Connor: "If Slovenia is so different from all other countries, I would like to know why." 


In the opening speech of the launch event of the Slovenian ECHAlliance Ecosystem the chairman of ECHAlliance Brian O'Connor said: "Please aplaud the organisers of this event, you've prepared a great strategy and plan, and here we are witnessing a great launch event." To this he added: "Slovenians, please be aware that you have great things to offer to Europe and the World. The fact that you're small can be an advantage, use it. Discover your sources, possibilities, don't be afraid!"

European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) is an initiative that connects different stakeholders in health and social care in now already 30 ecosystems mainly in Europe, but also in North America and China.

Brian invited participants to join ECHAlliance and contribute to projects and working groups in different assignments some of which already span across borders. Brian emphasized: "What you give is what you get. You have to be active".

It is a well known fact that the population is growing older and that more and more people need care, both health and social, which is increasing the financial burden to states, governments, the health and social care systems, insurance companies. "The ecosystem has to stay independent! Only in such position will it be a great opportunity for the government, its ministries, and institutes to listen to what different stakeholders want, what their opinion is, where the problems are. It works like this in the 30 ecosystems we have launched. If Slovenia is so different from all other countries, I would like to know why." community of health-tech companies, startups and other interested organisations has been organising events and other activities since October 2014 with the aim to help innovative projects and companies in reaching out to global markets. in cooperation with ECHAlliance and Coral sees the opportunity to move from ideas, words and small scale pilots to nation wide projects.


"The beginning is today," said Tomaž Gornik, coordinator of the Slovenian ECHAlliance Ecosystem and CEO of Marand, a organising partner. "Cases from abroad show, that it is possible to connect all the stakeholders in health and social care systems in a country and help bring local level practices to the nation-wide level."

In Northern Ireland, where integrated care was introduced to the whole country, positive results are already visible. "We have focused on patients not on processes when we introduced our integrated care programs. The results have been very good, the amount of medications used has decreased, hospital stays went down, we are now in better control of waiting times," explained Dianne Gill from ECHAlliance North Ireland.


It's true that their work has been made easier by the support of their government. "The ministry for health and ministry for enterprise and trade have signed a memorandum, by which they have exhibited their support for the integrated care projects."
The launch event of the Slovenian ECHAllaince ecosystem has enjoyed participation of a wide variety of more than one hundred representatives from different stakeholders; hospital management, physicians, nursery homes, home care providers, health insurance companies, people from ministries of health, social care, education, faculties, researchers, companies and others. 


Slovenia could see the Dutch example of Noord Brabant as the smart health region as something to identify with. Eight years ago, when they started, it seemed as if they will not be able to find a way, said Edwin Mermans of Coral and ECHAlliance. "The first and foremost matter was that we needed to increase the awareness of importance of health and social care! When we achieved this understanding were we only able to carry on with ideas and initiatives."


We also have a lot of good examples in Slovenia that came alive with the companies or even volunteer organisations that brought them to life. We saw 24alife by RC IKTS, United4Health project of telemedicine in Koroška by MKS, projects by CSD Krško, Zavod Oreli, Anton Trstenjak Institute, Zlata mreža and Simbioza.
Some of these projects or at least their learnings deserve to be scaled to the national level. This was also the main topic of the panel discussion between experts in the field. Tatjana Buzeti of Ministry for health said, that the views of ministries are still different. "Even if we agree on the model of integrated care, there will still remain open questions. Our priority remains to optimise the healthcare system."


Davor Dominkuš of Ministry for labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities said: »Health care is full of providers, who have been active for years and are paid for this. They will not be the first ones to vouch for new models. They actually don't want change. Yes, we do have small companies and local communities who are innovating and want to change things, but then we have these large providers who have not changed a thing in decades."

"Slovenia needs more transparency in terms of costs and benefits for the patients. That's the only way we will know which practices are effective and how we should be developing them in the future," said Adriana Dvoršak of NVO-VID.

To this discussion Edwin Mermans added: "From words to deeds! It's not enough to announce an ecosystem, work has to be done. By all stakeholders. Work and learn through work, through all activities."

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