Health » Overview

Salzburg Global Seminar has long been a leading forum for the exchange of ideas on issues in health and health care affecting countries throughout the world. At these meetings agendas have been re-set affecting policy and practice in crucial areas, such as patient safety and the engagement of patients in medical decision making. In 2010, Salzburg Global Seminar launched a multi-year series of seminars to crystallize new approaches to global health and health care in the face of emerging challenges affecting us now and set to continue on through the coming generation.

Interviews and coverage from our Health programs

Improving Health Care in Low Income Economies
Rashad Massoud speaking at the Salzburg Global Seminar
Improving Health Care in Low Income Economies
Louise Hallman 
Welcoming over 60 international healthcare professionals from more than 35 countries, Dr. M. Rashad Massoud expressed his excitement at the “wonderful journey” the participants would take over the next six days at Schloss Leopoldskron for the Salzburg Global Seminar session ‘Health and Healthcare Series IV: Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies: What are the next steps and how do we get there?’ The session has been two years in the making, and will follow on from previous sessions’ discussions to debate the progress made so far in meeting such targets as the Millennium Development Goals and the role of quality improvement in meeting such public health targets. Whilst improvements in health care have clearly been made in the past number of years, this progress has since “plateaued”, making it necessary for health care professionals to address the issues and challenges that still lie ahead. Joining the “crucially important meeting” via a pre-recorded video, Don Berwick, former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, USA, highlighted the great opportunity such a global gathering of healthcare experts would experience over the coming week. “In developed healthcare systems in the Western developed world, we have a crust to drill through,” he said. “We have an existing legacy production system that for complex reasons has not been orientated around those six aims [safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity] for the continual improvement of performance as its primary driver… “I have the feeling that low and middle income countries have a thinner crust. There’s more opportunity there because in some senses you’re building on a relatively less developed platform of management and process thinking. The opportunity in lower and middle income countries is to do it right the first time. “I think the potential is enormous.” The Salzburg Statement: How to Improve Health in Low and Middle Income Economies, was produced at the end of the week-long intensive discussions. Click here to read Louise Hallman's daily newsletters for the session
Healthcare Session - Day 1: Journey's Beginning
Healthcare Session - Day 1: Journey's Beginning
Ezequiel García-Elorrio 
The history of the Schloss Leopoldskron and the Salzburg Global Seminar are very impressive; since after World War II this organization has promoted the gathering of people around the world to provide solutions to global problems. The ambience is fantastic – it will surely make participants to give the most of themselves. During the opening remarks goals were set. The clearest one is to “set an agenda of coming years”. Reviewing where we are and how we got here. Constructing then the action plan for the times to come. Participants represented a wide variety of settings and realities from around the world. So far just listening to everyone’s introductions you can perceive the amount of experience and knowledge in the room. Surely clear objectives and a goal will come from this week-long discussion. This week-long seminar is described as the “beginning of a journey where we all will go together” confirming that we are “not sitting on plateau but moving ahead”. The audience is quite diverse, comprising government, patient representatives, international organizations, researchers and improvers. Almost every point of view is represented. Just to give a sense on the importance of our participation, the questions/debates posted before the seminar were presented to all participants to start the discussion. Hopefully conversations from Salzburg will reverberate around the world and feedback could be provided. Ezequiel García-Elorrio’s blog for the ISQua Knowledge Portal can be found online:
Talking Point - Do We Need More Data? By Louise Hallman "Work that is not documented is not done, so definitely documentation would help to improve quality - at then end the day you have to be able to see what you have done. There are two issues: crediable documentation and also making documentation easier... If we have this system where you can plug in the information at the time the activity was going on, or at worst at the close of the day, then you cannot go back at the end of month and change the information for that day.”
Charles Nde Awasom, Medical Director, Ministry of Health, Cameroon “There’s data for public reporting purposes and there’s data for actual clinical management application. If you connect the two, you have a data source that serves two purposes and is essentially incredibly important to the clinicians themselves... You can’t improve something that you know nothing about. The vast majority of the time [in my research] the data element is collected and sent somewhere on a district level or a regional healthcare system or government’s national health system and the clinic never learns how it’s represented in public health records.”
Kedar Mate, Director for Developing Countries Programs, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, USA “It is helpful [to have more data], but you can do a lot without it, by sampling, by rigorous independent monitoring, particularly of vaccination programs, and having extensive documentation, like a lot of high income countries do, doesn’t necessarily mean that you use data more intelligently. ”
Sir Liam Donaldson, former Chief Medical Officer, UK “It is true that in developing country settings you do have a lack of for sure documentation needs to be improved, but it’s really about what you do with it. In a lot of countries there is tons of data but it’s not developed with clinicians in mind so it’s not relevant and it’s not given to them even if it were relevant so they can do something with it.”
Ed Kelley, Head of Strategic Programs, WHO Patient Safety, Switzerland “A lot of our problems stem from inadequate documentation but more importantly, I think we generate a lot of data that is definitely not used optimally. We don’t have adequate information systems to connect information at community level. If you don’t have a health information system that works well across all levels, you are losing out a lot of vital information that will enable you to put interventions in place that are going to target the community best. ”
Nanthalile Mugala, Director for Technical Support, Integrated Systems Strengthening Program, Zambia
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