Shaping sustainable systems – Discover the #EHMA2022 topics
8 February 2022
EHMA 2022 is the 27th edition of our Annual Conference on the theme ‘From people to systems: leadership for a sustainable future’. Our Conference explores challenges and solutions for creating sustainable health systems and ways health managers can lead towards them. The EHMA Conference is a great platform to showcase cutting-edge research, share provocative ideas and discuss complex problems with a view to reach implementable solutions. Every year, the Conference attracts research from leading universities, creating space to exchange knowledge on excellent delivery of healthcare and showcase best practices at the country, systems and organisational level. The conference is abstract-driven and features research by leading experts on the most contemporary topics on health management. It is a place for all healthcare stakeholders to come together to exchange innovation and best practices.
The health of the population and the environment are closely intertwined, and health is both a contributor and a beneficiary to sustainable and economic development. In order to be sustainable in the long-term, health systems must therefore provide quality care and improve the health of the population, while limiting their impact on the environment.
The WHO defines a sustainable health system as a ‘system that improves, maintains or restores health, while minimising negative impacts on the environment and leveraging opportunities to restore and improve it, to the benefit of the health and well-being of current and future generations.’ 
To build sustainable health systems, three pillars must be considered: social, environmental and economic. Firstly, providing sustainable health services is only possible if healthcare is available, adequate, accessible, affordable, and appropriate for everyone. In order to achieve this, health systems must address the problem of under-staffing and under-resourcing, reduce waiting times, work towards universal health coverage, and put in place integrated service delivery to provide comprehensive quality care to people throughout their lives.
Secondly, to reduce the impact of the health sector on the environment, the delivery of health service activities needs to be planned and implemented according to sustainability principles, and health systems must aim to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hospitals and care institutions must therefore commit to minimising and recycling their waste, reducing their carbon footprint, and putting in place environmentally responsible procurement practices. Having the right incentives in place is thus key to driving sustainability-oriented innovation.
Lastly, to ensure the financial sustainability of health systems, health managers must investigate how to improve the quality of services delivered and patient outcomes while respecting budget constraints. Moreover, in order to be sustainable, health systems need to be resilient and flexible to be able to transcend after a shock and face constant evolution, including medical, demographic, economic, and technological changes. This highlights the importance of investing in health systems, both at the financial and at the workforce level.
The EHMA 2022 Annual Conference provides the opportunity to further discuss how health systems can participate towards achieving SDGs and explore the strategies, processes and solutions that health systems and managers can implement to ensure the sustainability of health systems.
Have you carried out research focusing on sustainable health systems? Would you be interested in sharing your results with the health management community? Don’t forget to submit your abstract before Friday, 4 March at 17:00 CET.
 World Health Organisation (2017). Environmentally sustainable health systems: a strategic document. Available from: Environmentally sustainable health systems: a strategic document (who.int)SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT
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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