Strengthening the European vaccine ecosystem: managing the digital transition
26 January 2023
Vaccinations are a critical tool for primary prevention and remain one of the most cost-effective public health measures available. There is a significant opportunity to harness the digital transformation of healthcare towards new vaccines, efficiencies in supply chains and vaccine administration. As we work to navigate the digital transition in health systems across Europe, including through the development of the European Health Data Space, it will be essential to consider every stakeholder perspective. Our White Paper ‘Strengthening the European vaccine ecosystem: managing the digital transition’ includes policy recommendations that address the specific challenges this transition presents to health managers, and the best ways to help them overcome these challenges.
Vaccinations are a critical tool for primary prevention of disease and remain one of the most cost-effective public health measures available. Despite a track record of success, vaccination rates in Europe reached a plateau before the COVID-19 pandemic and levels of vaccination coverage across the continent remain inconsistent. As widespread digital transition sweeps across European health systems, there is a significant opportunity for this transition to be harnessed towards improving our collective ability to develop new vaccines, find efficiencies in our supply chains, and effectively reach citizens with vaccine administration efforts.
The development of the European Health Data Space (EHDS) represents a major step towards seizing the opportunities presented by digital transition. As the EHDS moves through the European legislative process, it is essential that the perspectives of stakeholders from across Europe’s vaccine ecosystem are adequately understood and included, as vaccination is a complex topic and one that is too critical to public health to be left out of this major initiative for managing digital transformation in health systems.
Within this context, our White Paper ‘Strengthening the European vaccine ecosystem: managing the digital transition’ addresses the role that the ongoing digital transition in healthcare will have in shaping the future of Europe’s vaccine ecosystem, and highlights the importance of including the perspective of health managers in any discussion about European digital health initiatives. To further guide this process, our White Paper develops several actionable policy recommendations from the health management perspective that support a strong and sustainable vaccine ecosystem that can maximise the positive potential of digital transition.
The White Paper
Our policy recommendations address policy makers at the EU and national levels and health managers at all levels, who have critical roles in implementing modern digital technologies to support the vaccine ecosystem, as well as ensuring that these systems remain sustainable from the social, economic and workforce perspectives. These are:
- Consult with stakeholders to ensure the EHDS meets their needs
- Commit to create interoperable vaccine data system while ensuring citizens retain control of their data
- Work towards broader European cooperation on vaccines
- Support up- and re-skilling of the health workforce
- Create a framework for adapting COVID-19 digital infrastructure to routine vaccinations
- Implement standards for digital vaccine supply chain management
- Support monitoring and assessment for existing technologies
This paper is sponsored by MSD
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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