On 3 December 2018 MEP Sirpa Pietkainen, a long-time advocate of personalised healthcare, MEP Marian Harkin and the Brussels-based European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) were co-hosting a roundtable event to mark the launch of Future Proofing Healthcare: The Sustainability Index. This initiative, which was supported by Roche, gave an overview of the status of the current 28 EU healthcare systems. Above all, it was based on the largest data set of its kind, all open source, interactive and verified by an independent panel of experts.

The index aims to start an EU-wide conversation on the need to act now to futureproof healthcare systems. But most importantly, it aims to ensure patients will get the care they need in the coming decades.

‘Future proofing healthcare sustainability in the EU’ as a direct result of the Index was the center of discussion. EAPM is part of the expert panel in this ongoing project and the view from the Alliance is that such indices need to exist in all key disease areas, which the Commission should support.

About the Index

The Index provides meaningful insights about healthcare sustainability across the EU. As for the panel of experts, it includes patient associations, policy experts, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies. In other words, it seeks to identify areas of improvement in each healthcare system.

In addition, the Index provides in-depth analysis of the state of care throughout the patient journey for one specific disease each year. First up is breast cancer. Moreover, this tool enables a future-focused conversation that is based on fact and sharing best practice. It targets not only healthcare professionals, but media, patients and the general public across the European Union.

The methodology for building the index was purposely agnostic on the weight given to individual data points, specifically because of this strong desire to put the data firmly in the hands of the user.

Moreover, the Indices do not presume to present a static and objective performance ranking. Each country has its own specific circumstances, its own strengths and weaknesses. Each country can look to others to possibly do things differently and/or encourage alternative practices.

Aim of the roundtable

The roundtable aimed to assess and address obstacles to the integration of personalized healthcare into Europe’s healthcare systems.

On the other hand, the event had the purpose of identifying best practices and the added value that such an approach can deliver.

Additionally, such an event presented a good opportunity to outline the potential benefits that a personalized healthcare approach could have on public health and its impact on the EU based policymaking.

Expected outcome of the event

It is necessary to formulate a strategy, with patients at the centre and involving EU decision makers in public health. We must enable the EU and Member States to contribute to integrating personalised healthcare into clinical practice while providing greater access for patients. As a result, the roundtable’s main messages supported the European Parliament’s understanding around access in the run up to the EU Elections.

Participants were cross-sectoral, highly relevant and dynamic key stakeholders.  Namely, public health decision makers, representatives from the Commission (DG SANTE, DG RESEARCH), MEPs, patient organisations, and EU-based associations active in the field of personalised medicine.

MS and sustainable healthcare systems

For MS patients, services to live an empowered life and to be independent are essential for a sustainable healthcare system. That’s why our Managing Director, Elisabeth Kasilingam was also a member of the steering panel of healthcare experts. Such panel rigorously guided the building of the indices to make that as neutral, relevant and wide-reaching as possible. Their effort aims to drive a future-focused conversation.

If you wish to have a look at the results of the index please click here.