Year of Healthcare roundup

Looking back: a Year of Healthcare at AmCham Belgium

David Gaier, Public Affairs Manager, AmCham Belgium

We launched our long-awaited Year of Healthcare, an initiative of our Innovative Healthcare Committee (IHC), in September 2020. It was originally set to start with a series of physical events a few months before, but the global COVID-19 pandemic forced us – like many others – to change our plans and adapt. In spite of its devastating consequences, the outbreak was also a clear reminder of how important health and healthcare are for everyone. The IHC therefore decided to go ahead and organize the Year of Healthcare, mostly in an online format.

The overall goal was to help build a long-term sustainable and innovative healthcare ecosystem for patients in Belgium while further strengthening Belgium’s position as a global leader in healthcare and bringing together the broad healthcare stakeholder community in Belgium. Throughout the Year, we addressed a series of topics, identified by the IHC, which are driving the discussion about the future of healthcare and the role of international companies in the Belgian healthcare (eco)system.

Integrated Care

Chronic care tends to be disease-centric rather than patient-centric, and there is often little collaboration between health actors, which results in suboptimal patient care. Integrated Care implies coordination and strong collaboration among all healthcare actors, from primary care to rehabilitation, with the patients’ needs placed at the center.

We started the Year of Healthcare with the presentation of our new report Moving towards Integrated Care in Belgium. This report was the outcome of more than a year of hard work in the IHC’s Integrated Care Subcommittee, which met with more than 20 different stakeholders in order to come up with eight actionable recommendations. During an online event, experts took the floor to discuss our recommendations and how to truly make Integrated Care a reality for Belgian patients.

Importance of Healthcare Companies in Belgium

Finally, in October 2021, we concluded our Year of Healthcare with the first in-person event of the Year! We launched our new report on The Importance of Healthcare Companies in Belgium at Orsi Academy, a state-of-the-art (medical) robotic training center near Ghent. The event featured a visit of the premises and also a panel discussion reflecting on the IHC’s new policy recommendations.

Overall, despite the COVID-19 limitations and restrictions, the Year of Healthcare was extremely successful, drawing hundreds of attendees to high-quality events, allowing our members to network – be it online or in person – and to learn more about some of the most pressing healthcare issues of today (and tomorrow). It also strengthened our Innovative Healthcare Committee’s voice in the public debate thanks to the participation and attendance of various stakeholders (representing hospitals, patient organizations, sick funds, etc.). Additionally, it put the spotlight on the important role international healthcare companies play in Belgium, for instance by developing innovative solutions, exporting their products around the globe, etc.

AmCham Belgium would like to thank its Innovative Healthcare Committee and all member companies which made the organization of the Year of Healthcare a real success and an important milestone in the history of the IHC. Stay tuned for more healthcare-related activities as we seek to continue this positive momentum!

Year of Healthcare partners

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David Gaier

Policy and Governmental Affairs Manager