EHMA 2021 – Health Management: managing the present and shaping the future

9 March 2021

Over the last year, health systems across Europe have encountered the most difficult times for a generation. Throughout the world, health services buckled under the strain of COVID-19, confronting enormous challenges around hospital capacity and workforce planning during a pandemic. As managers are pondering whether there will be a return to a ‘new normal’, important questions will be asked about how to increase the resilience and readiness of health systems whilst also providing high quality routine care catching up on the backlog of many months of missed operations.

Health management will be at the centre of providing solutions for these unprecedented difficulties. Bringing practitioners, researchers and academics together to share solutions has never been more important than today.

On 15-17 September join us for EHMA 2021, to be held digitally through the lens of Lisbon, Portugal, and meet with experts from across the world to discuss solutions to managing services in the post-COVID future. This year’s conference is organised in collaboration with the Associação Portuguesa de Administradores Hospitalares (APAH) and its academic partners, the Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública and the Universidade Nova: Nova School of Business and Economics. With a rich and diverse programme, EHMA 2021 offers a unique opportunity to find answers to some of the most difficult problems in leading and managing the health services of tomorrow.

The EHMA Annual Conference is widely considered the preeminent place to share experiences, skills and competencies in the field of health management. With a strong focus on innovative practices in governing, planning and delivering services, our Annual Conference will be the perfect location to get in touch with your European and international colleagues discussing the latest developments in governance and leadership, digital transformation, integrated care, and creating sustainable person-centred services.

We look forward to (virtually) seeing you at Lisbon!

Axel Kaehne
President, and on behalf of the Board of EHMA



EHMA 2021’s theme, ‘Health Management: managing the present and shaping the future’, is placing an emphasis on the need for health systems to ensure that while they are managing the current health emergencies, needs, and challenges, they are also preparing and shaping their future.

The theme builds on the conversations that took place during the EHMA 2020 conference, during which the impact of current actions on the future of health care was highlighted. In fact, during one of these conversations, speakers mentioned that there has been an emergence of new ways of healthcare that could be pre-sensing the possibilities for future healthcare, and this would mean that health systems are already learning for the future in the present.

This is why #EHMA2021 will focus on both highlighting how health management is at the centre of providing solutions to current difficulties, but also discussing innovative practices and ideas on how health managers are participating in increasing the resilience and readiness of health systems to face future challenges.

In the past two years, the EHMA Annual conferences addressed different aspects of the same subthemes: Digital Transformation, Systems & Organisational Governance, Integration, Personalisation, Sustainability, and Value-Based Healthcare. In 2020, COVID-19 was added as a transversal topic that was discussed in all the sessions.

Some of this year’s subthemes are directly connected to the past two EHMA Conferences, namely Governance and leadership, Person-centeredness and care integration, Managing the digital transformation, and Environmental sustainability of health services. In addition, EHMA 2021’s key topics also include Improving healthcare access and outcomes and the health workforce.

These key topics were chosen following an extensive consultation process with the EHMA Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors to ensure that the conference addresses the latest developments on some of the most difficult problems in leading and managing the health services of tomorrow.


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What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain