On October 12, 2023, at the Boris Hristov House of Culture, Plovdiv, an event for effective integrated municipal healthcare through digital transformation of the sector was held, organized by the Digital Health and Innovation Cluster (DHI Cluster), Medical University-Plovdiv and Plovdiv Municipality.
The topic was dedicated to “Digital Transformation in Support of Healthcare in Plovdiv Region” and brought together experts in the field of healthcare, academia and digital innovation in the person of Mira Ganova, Executive Director of the DHI Cluster, Radoy Pavlov, Honorary Member of the Cluster and Head of Digital Architecture at University Hospital Zurich, Prof. Prof. Blagoy Marinov, Deputy Rector of the Medical University of Plovdiv and Miroslav Belyashki, Head of the Mayor’s Office and Protocol Department, Plovdiv Municipality.
The discussion focused on the importance of digital transformation of the sector as a key tool for creating predictability and transparency in healthcare, as well as increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the entire system. Last but not least, the clear benefits for patients in better access and coverage of health services, improved health outcomes thanks to the integration of innovative models for prevention, diagnosis and treatment were highlighted.The discussion did not bypass the topic of the need for more investment in the health sector, which resources, however, should be properly allocated for the purpose of a meaningful digital transformation. Focus was also put on the cost-effectiveness of the sector and the opportunity to optimise costs and even generate savings thanks to reforming the health sector through the integration of technological solutions.
Mira Ganova, Executive Director of the DHI Cluster, stressed the importance of creating an integrated healthcare ecosystem at the regional level, through the proactive participation of all stakeholders in the process, leading to better health outcomes for patients in the region, easing the operational and administrative activities of medical professionals employed in the sector. “Moreover, innovation and digital solutions are on the horizon and we at the DHI Cluster are absolutely ready to assist with our expertise to kick-start the digital transformation at the regional level,” she added.
Prof. Blagoy Marinov, Deputy Rector of Medical University-Plovdiv, focused attention on the potential of medical universities in building an integrative health ecosystem in the Plovdiv Region:
“Universities have the potential and capacity to be the driving force behind digital transformation in healthcare. In this context, the data center that was built at the Medical University of Plovdiv represents a significant resource for us. This centre allows for advanced processing and storage of medical data, which is essential to support digital transformation in healthcare. Universities can drive innovation and help create the future of healthcare in the region,” he stated.
In his presentation, Radoy Pavlov noted that digital transformation requires a specific vision and strategy, coordinated and built with the participation of all stakeholders to take action for more efficient healthcare and increased health outcomes for patients in the region. Radoy shared his experience from his work at the University Hospital Zurich, and based on what was shared, participants agreed that a key priority for the Plovdiv region would be “Operational Excellence”, namely efficient administrative and operational processes, medical pathways and personalized care.
The specific stakeholders were identified, namely the citizens of the Plovdiv region, the Plovdiv Municipality, the healthcare institutions in the territory, the University of Plovdiv, who should work together to make the digital transformation happen and to centralize the patients’ health data. Among the concrete proposals and specific activities discussed were:
- Data exchange. Create a unified process for data exchange towards university and municipal government; Use standards and best practices; Regulation and secondary use of health data.
- Modernization and digital transformation. Creation of a template for modernization of municipal health facilities; Rapid positive results; Preparation for legislative changes (e.g. in the area of telemedicine services).
- Emergency care. Emergency care generating standardized health information; Integrated, digitized process; Creation of pilot project.
Experts in the Plovdiv Municipality, in the person of Miroslav Belyashki, Head of the Mayor’s Office and Protocol Department, expressed their readiness for action and support for the launch of a digitalization process in the municipality, which would be non-partisan and expert and which would prioritize people’s health. Participants expressed confidence that with will and commitment, digital transformation can be successfully implemented at the regional level.
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