Focus on European health care policy at the turn of the millennium

Bad Hofgastein 24 February 1999 Last year, the European Health Forum Gastein was organized in Austria from September 30th till October 2nd in order to put a spotlight on the essential requirements to create a better future for health systems in Europe. Politicians, health administrators, medical professionals, as well as representatives from both health and patient organizations and the industry discussed the directions which need to be taken on the threshold of the next millennium. The Congress report of this major event has just now become available. The document reflects the conference participants' considerations on the fundamental topics that have to be coped with to keep the European health care sector viable in the next century.

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Last year, the European Health Forum Gastein was organized in Austria from September 30th till October 2nd in order to put a spotlight on the essential requirements to create a better future for health systems in Europe. Politicians, health administrators, medical professionals, as well as representatives from both health and patient organizations and the industry discussed the directions which need to be taken on the threshold of the next millennium. The Congress report of this major event has just now become available. The document reflects the conference participants' considerations on the fundamental topics that have to be coped with to keep the European health care sector viable in the next century.

The three-day forum focused on research and innovation; public health; the patient's role; quality assurance; social insurance; the expansion of the European Union towards Eastern Europe; and the financing of health systems. These issues were addressed in a series of key-note presentations made by invited speakers from the political, academic and industrial world. In addition, the European Health Forum included six parallel forum sessions each hosting some fifteen to twenty participants for in-depth discussion on specific topics. The Congress report offers a faithful and detailed summary of the work that was delivered by the forum attendees on the various issues of research and development; public health and the single market; the role of the regions in an enlarged European health sector; financing; the legal and institutional framework; and health systems in Central and Eastern Europe.

Both the opening and closing plenary sessions presented several visions of the future, as seen from different perspectives, including those of the World Health Organization, the European Union, Austria, patient and consumer groups, and the industry. The first edition of the European Health Forum Gastein was described as a success by Congress report editor Professor Lothar Feige, although "more questions were raised than answers given". The interdisciplinary platform therefore will be continued in the second edition from October 6th to 9th 1999.

This year's programme will explicitly focus on those topics which could not sufficiently be treated during the first edition. The following items already have been put on the agenda: quality assurance and social issues; social exclusion and health systems; health promotion; rare diseases and orphan drugs; biotechnology; and health and information technology. The latter subject specifically should interest telemedicine workers as well as computer scientists. For more information, you can consult the home page of the European Health Forum Gastein.

  • Congress Report European Health Forum Gastein - Creating a Better Future for Health Systems in Europe
  • Edited by Prof. Dr. Lothar Feige and Monika Kaiser
    Gesellschaft für Versicherungswissenschaft und -gestaltung e.V., Cologne, Germany
  • Published by the International Forum Gastein -Tauernplatz 1 - A-5630 Bad Hofgastein - Austria
  • 1999 - 200 p.
  • ISBN 3-9500989-0-9
  • Available from Christoph Kˆstinger, Secretary General, European Health Forum Gastein
    Phone: +43-6432-711070 - Fax: +43-6432-711071 - E-mail: info@ehfg.org


Leslie Versweyveld

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