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Ljubljana, 18 November – Slovenia’s healthcare must focus on quality and safety, was a view shared by experts attending Friday’s AmCham Business Breakfast in Ljubljana. They underlined the importance of digitalisation and discussed long waiting times, understaffing and brain drain.

Digitalisation is a key factor in quality treatment of patients, the guests agreed. Tomaž Gornik, the director of software developer Better, stressed the importance of appropriate use of digital medical charts.

“It’s not that we don’t have infrastructure to store or display data. It’s about having the stakeholders enter data and use the system,” said Gornik. Primary healthcare providers put very little data in the digital medical charts, which needs to change, he said.

The event also touched on long waiting times, with Kristina Modic, the executive director of the Slovenian Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia Patients, saying the delays meant late diagnoses and poorer outlooks, more expensive treatments and poorer recuperation.

Dorjan Marušič, a member of the government’s strategic council for healthcare reform, said Slovenia was a long way off from optimising accessibility. The country needs to start measuring accessibility, he said, adding that accessibility problems cannot be resolved solely with additional funds.

Marko Pahor, a professor at the Ljubljana School of Business and Economics, said doctors should be absolved from administrative tasks, which, in the era of digitalisation, are pointless.

Understaffing was also discussed in light of data showing that despite high healthcare expenses, Slovenia only has 3.3 doctors per 1,000 residents.

Marušič and infectious diseases specialist David Zupančič both raised the issue of staff leaving the public healthcare system for the private sector or to work abroad.

As reasons for dissatisfaction, doctors cite burnout, bureaucracy, poor career prospects, limited autonomy, feeling of unfairness, and inadequate pay.

Zupančič pointed out that some received very modest salaries, adding that young doctors above all should receive appropriate remuneration.

Source: STA