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The Economist Conference

Our Director Nicola Bedlington attended the Economist Conference on 29 October in Geneva, Switzerland. “New Responses to Communicable Diseases: Strengthening Health Systems –Changing Behaviour” was the focus of the event and EPF provided some solutions from the patients’ perspective.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – characterised by their non-infectious cause - are the world’s number one killer, accounting for two out of three deaths globally and 86% of deaths in the EU. The World Health Assembly has set a global target of achieving 25% reduction in overall mortality rates from NCDs. This Economist  summit in Geneva debated how to meet that target, with expert contributions from those leading the NCD fight within Governments, healthcare systems, the private sector and civic society.

Nicola Bedlington participated in a panel session focusing on how to incentivize and empower patients to manage their care and adopt healthy lifestyles. The discussion focused on what can be achieved through providing patients and citizens with information and technologies to look after themselves. She explained that technological innovation can be used to promote efficiency and allow care to flourish, and to promote healthy lifestyles.

Nicola raised the following key points

  • EPF‘s constituency is patients already diagnosed with chronic diseases thus we focus our work on secondary and tertiary prevention rather than primary prevention 
  • Prevention, Health Promotion and patient-centred chronic disease management are part of one holistic continuum - All are vital and health investment needs to recognise this
  • EPF’s input into the European Commission’s Reflection Process on chronic diseases focuses very much on an empowerment model whereby patients can play a central part in managing their disease with the right information and supports. This is based on strong evidence from our projects and our membership. To facilitate empowerment we promote meaningful patient involvement in innovation in all its forms – low tech, high tech, social , technological , pharmaceutical- to optimise impact and ‘get it right’ for patients.

Patients should be seen as part of the solution not purely the problem in achieving high quality, patient- centred equitable and sustainable healthcare, building on the three tenets of information, health literacy and patient empowerment.