October 16, 2017

Healthcare insight: Västra Götaland vs Valenciana

Recently our Marketing and Communications Manager visited Hospital La Fe in Valencia. After gaining an insight into the similarities and differences of our respective healthcare systems, she headed home with innovative solutions on her mind.

– From what I could tell, La Fe has amazing facilities and a management with modern leadership. Two key success factors for innovation and development within healthcare, says Paulina.

Below we share a few of the findings.

Strong reliance on the public healthcare sector

In both countries the population has access to a strong public health insurance. This comes with a firm belief that whenever I fall, the public healthcare sector will be there to pick me up.

While the insurance in Spain covers all expenses connected to healthcare, with the exception of dental care, in Sweden patients need to pay minor costs for medical visits at all levels.

Hospitalization at home models

In both Region Västra Götaland and Valenciana new innovative models are tried out to gain more efficiency throughout the treatment chains for certain patient groups. Although they share a common purpose, the hospitalization at home version in Valencia is more established than the mobile teams which have not yet been implemented broadly in West Sweden.

Primary care and university hospital – linked or detached?

Maybe the biggest difference of all, is to what extent the primary care centres and university hospital are linked together. In Spain you have a family doctor who is your main contact point at your appointed primary centre situated in close vicinity to where you live. Should you need hospitalization, the medical staff at the hospital as well as at the primary care centre has access to the same medical records system. This is not the case in Region Västra Götaland yet, but is in the pipeline.

In Sweden freedom of choice for patients is valued higher. Especially at the primary care centre level where you are entitled to choose the centre you prefer, not necessarily the closest one. Although covered by the public health insurance with same price levels for the patients, there are both private and public primary care centres competing for the patients’ attention.

Experts in Transplant surgery and other national assignments

Both La Fe and Sahlgrenska University Hospital have many national assignments, the latter currently has more than any other hospital in Sweden. This is of course everything but a coincidence, highly specialized care and research go hand in hand on both sites. A fun fact is that in 2016 both hospitals performed the same amount of 320+ transplant surgeries, give and take a few.

Lastly La Fe got to listen to how Sahlgrenska International Care AB’s healthcare export contributes to Region Västra Götaland’s and Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s international footprint.

Thank you María Pilar Muñoz Muñoz, Monica Almiñana Riqué and the rest of the management of Hospital La Fe de Valencia for the vivid discussions and world class hospitality.

To summarize, there are still a lot of questions without immediate answers, healthcare systems evolve in different cultural settings. They are complex entities where tradition and renewal co-exist side by side, sometimes creating friction. Lets never stop exploring how to take the next step so that populations across Europe can continue to have access to a healthcare of highest quality. Regardless if it is in the country where they are registered or next door.

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