Health and access to healthcare are fundamental rights; however several subgroups of the population face difficulties in accessing high-quality, affordable healthcare services. One of the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC guarantees people access to health services as needed and regardless of their financial and economic situation. The European Union is aligned with the UN framework and has included “timely access to affordable, preventive and curative health care of good quality” as one of the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. However, healthcare access challenges persist in the EU.
To decrease health inequalities, social determinants of health should be addressed. Not all EU countries offer universal health coverage, and out-of-packet payments can increase health inequalities. Non-medical factors, such as income, social protection or education level, can influence health outcomes. Additionally, lack of health and digital health illiteracy makes medicines and therapies hard to access to many subgroups of the population. But access to healthcare is not the only barrier to better quality of care and outcomes. The shortage of healthcare professionals in Europe threatens care delivery. This can lead to long waiting times for medical appointments and treatments.
Health managers can foster an environment where high-quality care is accessible and optimally delivered. By promoting citizens’ health and digital health literacy and adopting innovative models in healthcare delivery, health managers and providers can ensure that patients receive the medical care they need, when they need it, and with optimal outcomes.
Healthcare access, delivery and outcomes is one of five topics identified as a current healthcare trends and will shape the EHMA 2023 programme. Tracks and topics have been selected in consultation with our Board of Directors, our Scientific Advisory Committee, and our membership.
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