Health economics

Models for hospital-region integration. Comparisons and perspectives from economic-business viewpoint

The results of scientific research and technological innovation in the medical field and the prevention campaigns that have been launched each year by various European countries, have produced a significant rise in the average age of the population. Unfortunately, however, this outcome, while being certainly positive, is accompanied by an increase in chronic and chronic-degenerative diseases. This increases the demand for assistance and health care, forcing healthcare facilities to deal with situations of; ‘overbooking’, inappropriate hospitalisation and managing waiting lists for provision of services (PNGLA, the government, national waiting list plan, for the three-year period 2010-2012). There is therefore an awareness of the need to shift attention from the individual hospital to the region, in a context of integration and continuity of care (guidelines for the year 2011 – Identification of the political priorities, Ministry of Health).

The conference aims to critically analyze the experiences of Lombardy on the issue of hospital-region integration. To this end, the meeting of European Health Ministers was held in Budapest on the 7 April 2011, where European health policies (Europe 2020) were discussed. The Italian Minister of Health, Fazio, in agreement with other European ministers, defined the promotion of hospital and regional integration as a priority of European socio-economic policies, in order to provide citizens with better and more reliable health services. As stated in the meeting, “For traditional areas of community intervention, such as Aids or oncological diseases, new models of healthcare based on regional assistance will have to be developed …” (Fazio, 2011).

It would be interesting to check the presence of any organizational model in Lombardy, to analyze the results produced and to grasp the possible opportunities and prospects for development at a historical moment such as the present one, characterized as it is by a severe economic crisis.