There were a few empty seats in the FH Brussels office back at the beginning of October as many of our healthcare team members made the trek to a very far-away place. Clock up an 8 hour journey involving 2 flights and one shuttle bus journey, and you get to the town of Bad Hofgastein in Austria. Now why on earth would they go there at such a busy time of year?
Our healthcare team was making their way to THE healthcare policy conference of the year in Europe, the annual European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG). The almost weeklong conference is jam-packed with seminars and workshops, involving a cross-section of high-level speakers spanning Commissioners, health economists, patients and industry. Besides helping to run three such workshops, our healthcare team thought they’d share here what makes the trip to EHFG so worthwhile:
- Bringing people together – The EHFG brings many of the top EU, national and regional level policy stakeholders engaged on health issues together in this one isolated place. Real progress by the EU on health can only be achieved with the engagement and cooperation of this mix of stakeholders around the table to discuss common challenges and workable solutions.
- Building a partnership approach– The conference brings together different points of view on the health issues of today. EHFG highlights the need to unite business and policy perspectives, in line with patients who are placed at the core of the discussions. This allows for everyone not only take part in the discussion but also be a part of the proposed solutions.
- Glimpse into the future – EHFG gives a sense of what future challenges lie ahead and what health policies are needed to address these.
- Being part of the solution – Gastein gives everyone an opportunity to propose solutions across all the different health issues from NCDs, e-health, HTA, and more. It’s a great venue to put forward solutions for discussion and contribute to future policy making initiatives in the making.
- Making friends –EHFG provides a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with the key players on health policy at all levels possibly because you all have nowhere else to go, and because of the inexplicable pull of the infamous Ice Cube bar !
So in the end it really is worth the 8 hour trip (door– to –door) from Brussels, well that and the view’s not half-bad either.
Michelle, Aoife, Clemence and Tatiana