Innovating the management of chronic conditions

29 October 2020


Managing chronic conditions amid a pandemic has proven not to be easy. Patient with chronic illnesses were among the most vulnerable populations at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, therefore health care organisations have had to balance the need to protect patients and those who live with them with the need to maintain continuity of care to avoid the risk of decompensated patients requiring emergency hospital care. This has required adjustment to daily routines, developing new care models and dealing with new obstacles.  

What can be learnt from the emergency to innovate the health system and the management of chronic patients? In this webinar we explored the strategies and organisational models healthcare organisations developed in the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic to drive chronic disease management. The webinar presented and discussed the choices made by several hospital trusts and local health authorities in Italy and considered what is needed in the immediate future.  

The management of the pandemic forces us to reflect on i) the coordination of territorial actors, ii) the consequences of challenging the traditional care model, iii) the hypothesis of a new mix of person-centred services and community centred-servicesand; iv) the development of innovative care models. Analysis of the different approaches used to address the same issue can be a significant learning opportunity for hospitals and healthcare systems worldwide. 


Dr Lucia Ferrara
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Dr Lucia Ferrara

Dr Lucia Ferrara

Dr Lucia Ferrara, PhD, MsC is a Researcher at the CERGAS (Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management) and SDA Junior lecturer at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University. She completed her PhD in Evaluation of health and social policies at the University of Bari (Italy). She holds a Bachelor of Health Education from the University of Foggia (Italy), a M.Sc. in Health Economics and Health Policies from the Coripe Piemonte –Consortium for Research and Continuing Education in Economics, University of Turin (Italy) and a M.Sc. in Sociology, Health and Social Policies from the University of Bologna (Italy).

Since 2016 she has worked in the field of healthcare management at CERGAS SDA Bocconi. Her research activities focus on population health management and clinical governance, cancer networks, healthcare systems financing, bundled payment, process management, healthcare system evaluation and integrated care. She is the author and co-author of numerous articles on the subject. Her works have been published in reference in Health Service Management Review, International Journal of Integrated care, Mecosan.


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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