Conference “Digital transformation of the healthcare ecosystem”

Belgrade, 9 December 2020. – Digitalization has exerted major changes in the way in which patients are now treated and healthcare system operate. The changes and advantages brought about by digitalization are huge, but they require joint efforts of the public and private sectors. Serbia has already made some important steps on the pathway to healthcare digitalization, but the bulk of work remains ahead. Panelists at the discussion on digital transformation of the healthcare system believe that this transformation is an opportunity, not only for the development of the healthcare system, but of the ICT sector in Serbia as a whole. The conference was organized by the Swiss Serbian Chamber of Commerce, together with Roche Serbia, one of the SSCC Founding members, and it was opened by His Excellency Mr Urs Schmid, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Serbia and to Montenegro. He has underlined that owing to strong economic relations, Switzerland and Serbia can have quality cooperation in the area of digitalization, as well. Mr Schmid has also stated that Switzerland already supports initiatives for the promotion of digital economy in Serbia and cooperation with the Swiss business community that invest in ICT, believing that it is possible to additionally promote the trade in digital services, hardware, exchange of know-how and talents between the countries in both directions.

Mr Majo Mićović, President of the Swiss Serbian Chamber of Commerce, has focused his comments on data protection and highlighted that a healthcare system based on personalized approach can generate a huge amount of digital data linked to personal patient data. He also emphasized that GDPR very strictly defines all aspects of data protection that have to be implemented to avoid any abuse. Mićović has added that it is important to plan for a system of security measures to accompany all processes in healthcare digitalization. The Chamber President believes that that the Swiss and Serbian ICT markets can establish excellent cooperation in the area and promote bilateral development of both countries.

Mr Dejan Kovačević, Digital Health Advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, has said that the Serbian Government has identified the need to cooperate with the private sector in setting the strategic goals and progressing towards such goals including higher quality of healthcare, improved efficiency of the healthcare system and opening the door to research and innovations in healthcare by the use of modern IT solutions and tools.

Kovačević has pointed out that the challenges of healthcare digitalization are diverse and multiple, but that they can be resolved most efficiently by cooperation of the public and private sectors.

Dr Nick Guldemond, senior researcher at the Leiden Medical (The Netherlands) has said that the current digital solutions used in healthcare most commonly lack interconnections, and that personalized healthcare anticipating patients’ needs requires good networking and communication; therefore, a complete re-design of healthcare systems is required. Guldemond has added that integrated and well fitted strategy can drive the successful transformation of healthcare.

Nebojša Đurđević, Digital Serbia CEO, has pointed out that in the area of healthcare, like in many other areas, the unique opportunity to change the world from Serbia lies in start-ups. Đurđević has suggested that increasing number of innovative technological solutions that transform the mindset when diagnostics and treatment are concerned accelerate the current processes and bring about new treatment prospects.
Đurđević has underlined that, contrary to some other actors in the healthcare ecosystem, startups from a small country such as Serbia have the same opportunity to become global leaders in their respective domains and, in addition to advancing global healthcare, achieve huge profits for the Serbian economy.

Ana Govedarica, CEO Roche Serbia and Montenegro, and SSCC Vice-President, has pointed out that Serbia already has a good basis for healthcare digitalization since a large number of institutions have already been integrated through two IT platforms, but it is now important to develop pertinent tools to process available data and use them in the manner that will make both the treatment and healthcare system more effective. Govedarica has added that treatment opportunities unlocked by digitalization are unbelievable and that it is important to involve a large number of people from various areas of expertise in the process to help develop the optimal solution.

About the Chamber:

Founded in March 2014, the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SSCC) was set up as a result of the growing interest of the Swiss business community in Serbia to advance economic relations between Switzerland and Serbia by creating an organization to foster dialogue between the two countries, promoting Swiss values in Serbia, as well as providing new opportunities for business networking.

As a non-profit private association, SSCC acts as a representative of the Swiss-Serbian business community and is committed to further development of long-term and continuous Swiss-Serbian business relations. The cooperation in the ICT sector is unquestionably one of potentials for further boosting of business relations among Swiss and Serbian companies. Nowadays the Chamber membership includes approximately 70 companies and has established years long cooperation with the Swiss institutional partner, Switzerland Global Enterprise S-GE.