Hospital business model under pressure – problem or opportunity?

Source: Actual Care (13/07/2017)

The backbone of the fourth edition of the Vlerick Healthcare Conference consists of two major topical themes: hospital networks and the affordability of converging medical technology. Collaboration and increases in scale are literally and figuratively the common denominator here. The aim of the conference is to seek out the answers and information required to develop guidelines for the healthcare sector, allowing it to be well prepared when tackling these challenges.

Strategic issues

“In Flanders, things are very much on the move. The networks and declarations of intent can no longer be counted on one hand. But this is just the first step”, says Professor Walter Van Dyck. “The concrete challenges for these hospitals will follow next: coordinating their organisation, ranges and specialisms. After all, the intention is not to create overcapacity. Which competences are complementary or supplementary? How should this be tackled in concrete terms? It is this kind of guidance, among other things, which we wish to provide in Brussels on 26 October. We want to analyse the strategic issues which will become apparent and draw up guidelines.”

Embracing the commercial aspect

The creation of networks will profoundly alter the hospital landscape, but the self-management trend is also heralding a new era. The business model of our hospitals is being placed under pressure. Walter Van Dyck: “We need to get better at embracing business thinking in the hospital world, even though this sounds a little cold and detached given that we are in the business of caring for people. Although the new applications and devices will certainly improve patient quality of life, they will also lead to a different care story. We need to offer the hospitals a pair of goggles, as it were, which teaches them how to look at these new technologies and opportunities. How will we tackle this? The commercial aspect hasn't exactly come into it so far, even though it really should have. After all, the role of doctors and hospitals can't simply be eliminated by these technologies. The use of apps must be linked with the right thinking in order to raise healthcare as a whole to a higher level within a liveable model.”

Affordable drugs

A liveable model will certainly be required in order to implement the relevant innovations in our healthcare system. Collaborations between hospitals, with the accompanying economies of scale, will help to promote this. The bargaining position will improve and prices can be lowered as a result. This approach can also be used to make drugs affordable for patients. “Europe has the mechanisms required to keep prices under control, thankfully, but collaborations can also make a (price-related) difference here. Off the top of my head I could mention the Benelux A collaboration, which is attracting international attention. It's a crystal-clear example of how your bargaining power increases as your territory (the Benelux) expands.” In this light, Walter Van Dyck refers to Ansgar Hebborn's presentation in Track 1 at 2.30 pm: Collaborating for access. He will be presenting the status quo at the European level, focusing on the various different visions which currently exist.

Different tracks

During the conference, there will once again be 3 tracks for the participants to choose from. The recently announced Track 1: Collaborating for access will run in parallel with Track 2: Health Tech Convergence and Track 3: Collaborating for better care. The three tracks will start at 11 am, after the plenary presentations by the Minister of Social Affairs and Health Maggie De Block (Collaborate to innovate: the societal perspective) and Prof. Dr. Hans-George Eichler (Collaborate to innovate: the drug regulator’s perspective). The plenary debate, hosted by Kathleen Cools, will start at 4 pm. Explore the full programme of the Vlerick Healthcare Conference.

TIP! The perfect aperitif for this fascinating conference will be the scenario analyses by Professor Brecht Cardoen, in which he outlines various future scenarios for the creation of hospital networks.  

Related news

  1. Boost for young entrepreneurs in Belgian healthcare sector

    Date: 25/05/2018
    Category: Programme news
    The Vlerick Healthcare Management Centre and the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund (CEF) share a mission – to give healthcare start-ups a boost. We achieve this by running our Accelerating your healthcare start-up programme, while the CEF offers financial support, networking and advice to entrepreneurs in the health sector. But from now on, we’ll be working together.
  2. Prevention is better than cure

    Date: 18/05/2018
    Category: Programme news
    Tech entrepreneur Jelle Van De Velde and doctor Servaas Bingé got talking more than two years ago when Jelle wanted to walk the 10 Miles and visited Servaas for a preventive sports examination consultation. “The dashboard in your car tells you how things are looking at any given moment. Warning lights indicate problems with the engine, the oil pressure or the tyre pressure and let you know when maintenance is required,” says Jelle. “We wondered whether we could do something similar for the human body.” That was the beginning of their start-up, Emma Health, a digital platform for data-driven, personalised preventive healthcare. Our ‘Accelerating Your Healthcare Start-up’ programme gave their start-up a boost.
All articles