Relive the EHMA 2021 Plenary sessions

21 October 2021

Our 2021 Annual Conference ‘Health Management: Managing the present and shaping the future‘ took place digitally on 15-17 September. The conference brought together over 400 representatives of the healthcare community to discuss the latest developments in governance and leadership, digital transformation, integrated care, and creating sustainable person-centred services. Over the course of three days, the conference hosted 4 plenary sessions, 14 abstract sessions, 11 partner sessions, 4 EHMA PIE sessions, and featured over 25 posters, offering a unique opportunity to share experiences, skills and competencies in the field of health management.

The opening plenary featured Ms Carmen Laplaza Santos (Head of Unit, Health Innovations and Ecosystems, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation – DG RTD, European Commission) and Dr Josep Figueras (Director, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies). Ms Santos discussed the important role of research, innovation and development, and of working together to strengthen health systems, especially after the COVID-19 continued impact. Dr Figueras presented on the theme of knowledge transfer and organisation and provided an overview of the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development.

The plenary session on ‘Shaping health systems for a post-COVID world’ featured the keynote address by Dr Hans Kluge (Regional Director for Europe, WHO), who reflected on challenges and unique opportunities brought by COVID-19. Prof Maurizio Cecconi (President, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine) presented his views on ICU management, while Ms Adelina Comas-Herrera (Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre – CPEC, London School of Economics) discussed long-term care systems. Dr Ellen Kuhlmann (President, EUPHA section on Health Workforce Research; Senior Researcher, Hannover Medical School) spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on the health workforce.

Ms Izabela Grape (Chairwoman, Breast Cancer Society Amazona) opened the session on ‘Leadership for the future of healthcare’ by sharing her experience of living through two cancer diagnoses. Dr Melitta Jakab (Head of Office, WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care) brought forward the perspective of the primary care sector, while Dr Björn Zoëga (CEO, Karolinska University Hospital) and Ms Annamaria Müller (President, Board of Directors of HFR Friborg Hospital) presented the perspectives of hospitals. Dr Marius Ungureanu (Lecturer and Director of Education, Department of Public Health, Babeș-Bolyai University; Chief of Staff, Ministry of Health of Romania) presented the perspective of local authorities.

Finally, the plenary session on ‘Digital transformation in healthcare: Digital technology as a management tool’ featured the keynote address by Dr Ceri Thompson (Deputy Head of Unit, ‘eHealth, Well-being, and Ageing’, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology – DG CONNECT, European Commission) who provided an overview of the actions taken by the European Commission to support the use of digital tools. Mr Clayton Hamilton (Coordinator, Digital Health Flagship, Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Europe) outlined the current initiatives of the WHO and explained how the digital agenda has grown during the pandemic as digital technologies were incrementally used for public health purposes. Lastly, Prof Rosanna Tarricone (Associate Dean, SDA Bocconi School of Management) focused on the benefits and opportunities of digital health technology and the assessment of digital health solutions.


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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