Performance evaluation, chronicity management, and clinical trials. These are the top three challenges that healthcare systems – not just in Italy but globally – are facing today, and whose importance will continue to grow in the near future. Whether public or private, academic or economist, anyone who wants to succeed in healthcare must necessarily measure themselves against these three aspects, studying their critical aspects and thinking of new solutions. This is what the Academy of Healthcare Management and Economics is designed to achieve, helping to confront the biggest challenges facing healthcare organisations and establish pathways towards greater innovation in future.
Born in 2010 from the long-standing collaboration between Novartis, a leading company in the health sector, and SDA Bocconi School of Management, the project involves the leading protagonists of Italian healthcare to explore new solutions to the industry’s challenges. Overall, 40 health agencies and 10 Italian regions, as well as several other public institutions, have come together to make a concrete contribution to the quality and sustainability of the health system through research, dissemination of results, and training.
The expression of this structured partnership culminated, in 2018, in the conference entitled “Evaluating companies, treatment and research processes: the contribution of the Academy”. With over 400 people participating, the conference brought together important actors of the national healthcare system. Most of all, the conference was an expression of an eight-year long project seeking to put scientific research methods and management tools at the service of healthcare innovation.
The conference provided an opportunity to summarize and discuss the Academy’s three key areas of focus . The first report centred on performance management. In particular, it showcased the innovative “multidimensional dashboard” developed by the Academy, a highly versatile performance measurement and evaluation tool that can be adapted to any context. The dashboard has been tested in 22 health agencies in four Italian regions, two of which were undergoing a debt rescheduling plan (Lazio and Campania), demonstrating its effectiveness, and successfully passing the test phase.
Another crucial issue for contemporary healthcare, chronicity management, was the subject of research conducted in collaboration with four health agencies, focusing on the logistics of diagnostic-therapeutic care pathways (PDTAs). While these have served to redefine the distribution of skills between general practitioners and specialists, improving patients’ accessibility to services, the introduction of Essential Levels of Care (LEA) for chronic conditions (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]) means it is now necessary to ask ourselves whether and to what extent PDTAs are still the appropriate response.
More than the first two, the third area of discussion impacts the future of healthcare: clinical trials. Involving 22 healthcare companies, the discussion was characterized by a particular consideration towards experimentation, focusing on the organization within companies and on the economic value of experimentation in terms of cost reduction and increase in revenues generated.
As Rosanna Tarricone, Associate Dean for Government, Health and Not for Profit Division of SDA Bocconi, stated: “Institutional partnerships like the one with Novartis allow us to develop new research and training paradigms in close contact with the market and its concrete needs”. “The Academy of Healthcare Management and Economics’ project” reiterated Pasquale Frega, Country President of Novartis Italia, “is strategic for Novartis, who, like any leading company in its sector, must always ask itself what is the direction of the development of the ecosystem in which it operates”. This point of view was also shared by many of the participants, such as Domenico Mantoan, Director General of Social and Health Care of the Veneto Region, who said that “initiatives like this are important to show the healthcare system what changes are needed in the coming years to face the new challenges”.