National Assembly Deputy Speaker Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic opened the conference “Innovation and digitalization in Serbian healthcare” at the National Assembly today. He stressed that improving the living standards of the citizens is the chief objective of economic development and the ongoing reforms and investments into the healthcare system are extremely important.
Marinkovic said that the National Assembly is open to any and all suggestions how to improve healthcare-related legislation. Investing into healthcare means better results of medical care, economic development and progress in terms of human resources and their efficiency in the field.
“When I went into politics in 2012 I had the opportunity to visit the Scottish Parliament and learn first-hand how they invest into the healthcare system. The healthcare budget for the year was 14 billion pounds which was 15% of the overall budget for medical care, healthcare innovations, quality and better life of the citizens. We cannot be Scotland, but we can strive for this type of investment to stay in step with the modern countries of Europe and the world and raise the quality of the healthcare system to a higher level”, said Marinkovic.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Prof. Dr Radisav Scepanovic said that the Serbian Government had adequately responded to the challenges of new technologies and discoveries, praising the level of investments channelled into the reconstruction of the healthcare system. A lot has been investment into the reconstruction of rundown hospitals, as in the case of the renovated Nis Clinical Centre which now has state-of-the/art equipment. Scepanovic said that the Ministry of Health has enabled the specialization of medical staff and plans to increase salaries and living standards to prevent the drain of expert staff abroad. He explained that the introduction of the integrated healthcare system and electronic transactions are one huge step forward that saves time and resources. The State Secretary said that Serbia now has innovative medicines and methods but still needs to work on raising the quality and availability of healthcare, standards and protection of patients and medical staff.
Director of the European Investment Bank Western Balkans Regional Office Dubravka Negre said that good public health is a prerequisite of economic prosperity. She said that the European Investment Bank supports project that provide an efficient, safe and accessible healthcare, mentioning the construction of four clinical centres in Serbia. Negre said that oversized and dysfunctional healthcare systems, fragmented collection of data and lack of long-term strategic plans are globally speaking the chief problems of the healthcare sector, stressing that digitalization can help solve them.
The conference, organized under the patronage of the National Assembly and Ministry of Health, gathered together representatives of governmental healthcare bodies, private healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, civil society and international organizations to discuss sustainable funding of innovative treatments in Serbia in 2020, healthcare digitalization or how to use smart management to improve the efficiency of healthcare, follow the movement of money and sustainability of the financing system, as well as “smart” hospitals in Serbia and capital investments into healthcare infrastructure.