Roche: Health Experts Call for Urgent Digitisation and Personalisation of Healthcare to Deliver Sustainable Healthcare Systems Across Europe

Leading healthcare experts, policy makers and advocates have called for the urgent implementation of digitisation and personalisation of healthcare, in order to deliver sustainable healthcare systems across Europe. The call came at the official launch of the FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index at the European Health Forum Gastein today.

The Index – which was led by an independent panel of healthcare experts from across Europe, in partnership with Roche – gives a unique snapshot of the current status of 30 European healthcare systems. It is based on over 1,890 data points on 57 individual healthcare measures from reputable public sources such as WHO, OECD, Eurostat across 30 European countries. The Index measures each country’s performance based on five vital signs: Access, Health Status, Innovation, Quality, Resilience.

The findings of the Index demonstrated strong regional disparities in the sustainability of healthcare systems across Europe, with Switzerland and Scandinavia currently leading the way, and most of the lower ranks falling to countries that are further East, such as Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania.

When it comes to market access delays and availability of medicines, the disparity between countries was even more stark, with 86% of new medicines available to patients living in Germany compared to just 9% in Latvia.

In terms of innovation in healthcare, only a small number of countries ranked highly, including Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, which is reflective of the geographical concentration of pharmaceutical and medical technology investment. Spain, Norway and Italy performed well on e-health initiatives and could be turned to as examples for other countries looking to build stronger foundations for digitisation of healthcare delivery.

Today’s launch of the FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index included a panel discussion, focusing on what is needed to establish a vision for healthcare systems in 2050. The panel was moderated by Bogi Eliasen, Associated Partner at the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies and member of the Index expert panel. He was joined by fellow expert panel member Mary Harney, former Tánaiste and Minister for Health in Ireland, along with a number of leading healthcare experts and policy makers, including: Dr. Paivi Sillanaukee, Director General for the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health; Dr. Usman Khan, Chief Executive of the European Patients Forum; Sarunas Narbutas, Chairman of Youth Cancer Europe; and Joerg Rupp, Director at Roche Pharmaceuticals.

Speaking from the launch, Bogi Eliasen, said: “Globally, one of the biggest challenges is the widening gap between citizens with access to healthcare and those without. Going forward, developments in healthcare systems will be shaped by data management, digital services and connectivity. We need to shift the focus from treatment to prevention, valuing the individual experience and leveraging technology as a tool to assist healthcare professionals and caregivers, if we are to pave the path towards a truly efficient and integrated healthcare system. By 2050, patients will have real-time oversight of how their data is being used and the opportunity to exert their preferences. The challenge is to ensure that these developments deliver free and fair access to new care opportunities for all, to realise universal and equal access to healthcare.”

The aim of the Index is to identify areas of improvement for the future, and to drive a Europe-wide conversation on the need to act now to futureproof healthcare systems, in order to ensure patients will get the care they need in the coming decades.

Joerg Rupp from Roche, reflected on the value of the Index, saying: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join some of Europe’s foremost healthcare experts here in Gastein, to not only launch the FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index but also reflect on the Index data to inform meaningful conversations on the need to form sustainable healthcare systems that will meet the needs of future patients. At Roche, we are committed to effecting change now, in partnership with others, with a view to driving a future-focused dialogue about achieving healthcare sustainability. That dialogue is only possible thanks to the detailed approach of the independent panel of healthcare experts who led this initiative, ensuring we can raise the big questions and shine a spotlight on best practice models across Europe, backed up by robust credible data.”

Review the Index data by visiting, join the conversation using #FutureProofIndex and follow the Index on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

An overview of the key findings can also be viewed in this short video, which you are welcome to share:

For more information on the European Health Forum at Gastein, visit:


Notes to Editors:

FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index was compiled by research group APCO Insight and is available at Full details of the methodology can be found here:

Key findings of the Index included:

  • Austria ranked 8th overall on the Sustainability Index. The country also ranked number 8 on the Innovation vital sign, thanks to its strong results in total government expenditure on medical R&D, for which it come first out of 30 European countries. When it came to the average number of working hours per week, Austria came in towards the bottom of the pack, ranking 27th.
  • Switzerland and Scandinavia are currently leading the way in healthcare sustainability in Europe but there are strong regional disparities with countries that are further east, such as Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania, at the lower end of the Index.
  • The length of Market Access Delays and rate of Availability of Medicines measures demonstrate clear gaps between a country like Germany (86% of medicines available) versus one like Latvia (9%).
  • Belgium ranked 10th on the Sustainability Index, and 7th on the Access Vital Sign. It also sits in 3rd place on influenza vaccinations among elderly individuals.
  • Bulgaria needs to improve overall on Sustainability and in its Resilience Vital Sign. It ranks 29th on its number of nurse graduates per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Croatia sits in 5th best place in terms of alcohol consumption. It ranks 27th on its Health Vital Sign, and it needs to improve its high cancer mortality rate.
  • Cyprus is in 1st place on the number of operating theatres in hospital per 100,000 inhabitants. It ranks 25th on the Innovation Vital Sign, and 29th on the influence on its academic publications in medicine.
  • The Czech Republic needs to improve its alcohol consumption and its Resilience Vital Sign, although it sits favourably, in 4th place, on HIV incidence per 1,000 inhabitants.
  • Denmark ranks very well in both Sustainability (3rd place) and Innovation (2nd), thanks to its high level of expenditure on medical R&D.
  • Estonia needs to improve in the area of Access and its rate of unmet healthcare needs, but does well on the WHO Mental Health Status Assessment, in 4th place.
  • Finland sits in the top seven in terms of overall Sustainability and has the second highest percentage of people in Europe who spend at least 2.5 hours per week on physical exercise.
  • France needs to improve its alcohol consumption but ranks 3rd for the influence of its academic publications in the field of medicine.
  • Germany ranks highly in Sustainability and the highest of all European countries in Access, which is the extent to which medicines, treatments, diagnostics or other technologies can be accessed by the people who need them.
  • Greece needs to improve on its low proportion of doctor graduates per 100,000 inhabitants, but the country ranked third on the number of operating theatres in hospitals per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Hungary’s Sustainability and Health Status Vital Sign need to be improved, but the country comes 4th when it comes to HIV incidence per 1,000 inhabitants.
  • Ireland’s Sustainability ranking is good (12th place), and it scores very well on the Resilience Vital Sign, thanks to its high share of physicians under 35 years old.
  • Although Italy scores very well in life expectancy, it could improve on its Health Status, and the percentage of infants vaccinated against measles.
  • Lithuania comes in 30th on the Health Status Vital Sign, and it needs to improve its intentional self-harm per 100,000 inhabitants. However, it ranks in 3rd on the number of physicians per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Luxembourg ranked 10th on the Sustainability Index and 12th on the Resilience Vital Sign, thanks to its high health expenditure per capita.
  • Malta’s obesity score needs improvement, but the country performs highly in Resilience, thanks to its high share of physicians under 35 years old.
  • The Netherlands holds high standards in Innovation, thanks to its total government expenditure on medical R&D. It is one of the top European countries driving innovation, along with Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark.
  • Norway has significant strength in healthcare sustainability and the Quality vital sign, thanks to its low neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 live births. It is one of only two countries which scores over 70 in Resilience, which covers health expenditure, alcohol consumption, and working hours. The other country which scores over 70 in resilience is Denmark.
  • Poland’s projected old-age dependency ratio comes in at 6th place. However, the country needs to improve in the area of Access, as well as its number of physicians per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Portugal’s Index score could be improved with greater focus on quality such as anti-microbial resistance. It ranks 5th out of 30 European countries when it comes to the number of doctor graduates per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • While Romania’s ranking in overall Sustainability could be improved, the country ranks number one on the number of nurse graduates per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Slovakia ranks the most favourably on HIV incidence per 1,000 inhabitants, in 1st place. However it ranked 28th on the Innovation Vital Sign, and it needs to improve its legal system and protection of intellectual property rights.
  • Slovenia ranked 25th on the number of people believing health issues stop them from daily activities. Thanks to its high number of graduate pharmacists per 100,000 inhabitants, it ranked 9th on the Resilience Vital Sign.
  • Spain is in the top five countries on the Quality vital sign, thanks to its good amenable mortality rates per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Sweden ranked 1st on the Quality Vital Sign, but it needs to improve on income-based health gap. It sits in 2nd place on life expectancy gender gap, and 3rd in Sustainability.
  • Switzerland ranks second in overall sustainability of healthcare systems and first in Innovation, thanks to its strong legal system and a high level of protection for intellectual property rights.
  • Employees in the UK work more weekly hours than the other European countries. Its level of Innovation is high thanks to the strong influence of its academic publications in medicine.

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the eleventh consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

Strong regional disparities in sustainability of European healthcare systems and availability of medicines highlighted at launch of FutureProofing Healthcare Sustainability Index at the European Health Forum Gastein

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2018 employed about 94,000 people worldwide. In 2018, Roche invested CHF 11 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 56.8 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

About European Health Forum Gastein

The European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) was founded in 1998 as a European health policy conference. It aims to provide a platform for all stakeholders from the field of health and beyond. Over the past decade, the EHFG has established itself as an indispensable institution in the scope of European health policy. It has made a decisive contribution to the development of guidelines and above all the cross-border exchange of experience, information and cooperation. Leading experts participate in the annual conference held in the Gastein Valley in the Austrian Alps for three days in October.

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