On 28.02.2023 (Tuesday), the Digital Health and Innovation Cluster Bulgaria (DHI Cluster Bulgaria) took part in the tenth anniversary edition of the National Pharma Forum, orginized by Manager on the topic: Meeting potential new health crises and how the state and the pharma industry can interact even more effectively on the way to providing better access to quality healthcare.
The event took place in three panels, the first of which (“Vision for the Future”) covered the health of the nation – challenges, forecasts, solutions, development of policies and practices to ensure equitable access to health care and reduce regional imbalances, as well as the role of institutions to stimulate innovation in the pharma industry. The second panel (“The Cost of Delayed Health”) focused on the topic of meeting future health risks and how improving population health indicators should be established as a leading but also shared national goal.
The moderator of the third panel (“Digital Health 2023”) was Mira Ganova, director of DHI Cluster Bulgaria, and the participants were Prof. Dr. Ivo Petrov, co-founder of Achibadem City Clinic, Iliana Paunova, executive director of the Bulgarian Organization for Verification of Medicines and Georgi Kostadinov, co-founder and CTO of Kelvin Health.
In her presentation, Mira Ganova emphasized that the digital transformation is not seen merely in the creation and integration of new technologies, but it rather includes the adoption of a new way of thinking and transforming the business structure, methods, and processes. The discussion provided valuable insights into the problems that the Bulgarian healthcare system is facing and how the digitalization in healthcare can address them. The long-term vision for the development of sustainable and efficient health care, where the patient and his data are positioned at the center of the system, was also advocated. The panel also emphasized the strategic actions needed to achieve better health outcomes, which includes the creation of a long-term sectoral strategy for digitization, access to data and their effective use in support of the development of innovations and technologies, equality in access to medical care, the construction of framework to support and interoperability for data analysis and utilization purposes.
“For this purpose, however, it is important to have a clear strategic vision to start the digitization process, but not as a technological project, but as an evolutionary process that starts with a change in the way of thinking and perceiving technology as a tool to deal with the modern challenges of the sector,” also shared Mira Ganova.
In response to the question of what digital healthcare is, from the perspective of medical specialists, Prof. Ivo Petrov shared that “the digital transformation in healthcare is already a fact on a global and European level,” and that it contributes to “early diagnosis, individualized solutions in favor of patients and saving lives.”
Prof. Petrov added that for this purpose there must be a clear political will and responsibility, so that the digitization of the sector becomes a parity topic for the public and political agenda.
Mrs. Iliana Paunova presented the first electronic digital drug verification project, which is a unique identification code that can be integrated into all digital and hospital systems, with the goal of digital transformation among pharmacists. She added that the introduction of technologies among their users is key to the full development of digital transformation in all verticals of the sector.
At the end of the discussion, extremely interesting and important issues regarding the development of technology and artificial intelligence for the benefit of doctors and patients were touched upon. Georgi Kostadinov from Kelvin Health, a member of the DHI Cluster, complemented the panel by giving important information on the contribution of technology and artificial intelligence to ease the daily life of doctors and patients, stressing that technology cannot replace the contact between doctor and patient, but aims to automate certain repetitive processes so as to sort out the huge volume of information and free up time for specialists to take care of their patients effectively.
The panel ended with the clear message that the consolidation of efforts, expertise and vision for the development of the sector is the key to a successful digital transformation, in which each stakeholder has the opportunity to add value through the specificity of their knowledge.