Dionysios Xenos on healthcare technology | med eHealthCY
The New Economy interviews Dionysios Xenos, General Manager or med eHealthCY, on providing better quality healthcare to Southeast EuropeShow transcript
Rapid socio-economic development in southeast Europe has put significant pressure on countries’ healthcare systems, at a time when costs are escalating. Dionysios Xenos outlines how med eHealthCY can help health organisations become more efficient through training in best practices and IT; and how countries can benefit from the company’s eHealth Network software.
The New Economy: What are the most important developments in the healthcare industry in Southeast Europe, both in the private and public sectors?
Dionysios Ksenos: There have been rapid and decisive developments in Southeast Europe, creating a new environment when it comes to healthcare.These countries and their health systems are in need of technical expertise, of knowledge and of IT in healthcare organisation. These are things that these countries do not have and so they must address these developments.What needs to be addressed? The cost. They must bear the cost of providing health services, which is very high.Secondly, they must integrate health into other sectors as well.And they must take advantage of their two great assets: the sun and the sea. Therefore, they need to enter the field of medical tourism. Third, countries that are located in Southeast Europe and belong to the EU will be required to implement the EU Directive on Cross Border Healthcare within the next months. This means they will be able to provide patients with a choice of doctors within Europe. As a result of the aforementioned factors, these countries must quickly reorganise their health systems.And this can only happen through participation in the eHealth Network. That is all.
The New Economy: Were there any regulatory changes or reforms that changed the field of healthcare and brought it in level with European standards?
Dionysios Ksenos: In the aforementioned countries, there have been no developments and no other reforms in the field of healthcare. Generally, these countries are undergoing a transition period between the old systems and a new era of modernization and democratization.These countries ‒ or most of these countries, I do not mean to generalize ‒ need to improve their health systems.Why? Because health in these countries, and generally in any country, is a factor in social and economic stability. So first they need to rationalise their health systems.And second, they need to bring in the required technical expertise and knowledge.They must reduce the cost of these, so they can get in line with European and international standards.
The New Economy: How can eHealth Cyprus stay on top of developments while ensuring that its customers can keep up to date with these changes?
Dionysios Ksenos: Ours is a company that is constantly learning. The intellectual capital of the company is its employees. That is what the company is. The company is not the chairs, tables or machines. It is its employees. This human capital gives us the ability to keep learning, keep improving and keep monitoring the developments in technology, particularly in health technology; it enables us to produce knowledge and pass that knowledge on to our clients, helping our clients get better, and benefit in the long term. Because if our clients benefit, we also benefit by extension.
The New Economy: What types of services does eHealth Cyprus offer and who are these services intended for?
Dionysios Ksenos: The company provides consulting services for health organisations located in any of the aforementioned countries. When I say consulting services, this involves the transfer of knowledge and technical expertise on health organisation management, on financial management, on IT, on information technology, on the process of preparing business plans. More broadly, it involves finding solutions to how we can change the operating model of health organisations and enter a new era, the era of the new economy.That is the first step of the process. The second is educational services.That means providing education and training to health professionals working in any type of health organisation. This is aimed at transferring knowledge to each and every employee. When it comes to doctors, we are teaching them how to use information technology, how to familiarise themselves with new technologies, how to use management processes and how to take advantage of the new developments in management at their respective health organisations.When it comes to our company, we are learning how to manage these changes – what we call the process of “change management” – that we are going through with some health organisations. This is the most important factor that hinders the process of implementing these changes within health services and organisations.We are figuring out how to achieve better financial management and make the most of the available resources.The third step is developing specific applications. There are health sectors that have to do with very specific people, such as, for example, rare diseases and chronic diseases.We can develop software for these rare and chronic diseases that can help doctors to better manage the illness. We are undertaking software development for information systems.We are developing new applications and, moreover, we have a great range of data for data analyses in health organisations; by enabling health organisations to access this information and data, we aid them in the process of decision-making. Finally, we of course also provide eHealth services (electronic health services).
The New Economy: Do you have any expansion plans? Where do you see your company in the next five years?
Dionysios Ksenos: The company’s motto is “people first”. With this goal in mind, we will expand to all countries in Southeast Europe,
starting from Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Palestine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and all the countries included in the broadest sense of the term Southeast Europe.We will suggest to these countries that they make use of the data centre services and of the software, which will be tailored to their needs. They will not be required to invest capital and raise funds now, but they will be allowed to either a) make use of the software and pay per transaction, with a transaction fee, b) pay per transaction and a fixed fee or c) pay a fixed amount for the next 25 years.
This will enable them to reduce the cost of services provision, to upgrade the quality of the healthcare offered and to remain competitive in the years to come, throughout the economic crisis.At the same time, they will be able to expand to other fields, such as medical tourism. The company also aims to enter vertical markets such as eLab, eMedical Offices, and eGovernment, that is to say, to be able to offer E-Services, electronic services within the health sector. This is very important. And we are already developing and running these.Another important service we will develop and expand to include is the eDisease Rare Disease Management. This will allow rare and chronic diseases patients to use the software and to enable them to self-manage their disease; we call this self-management. And finally, a very strategic area for us and one that we want to develop consists of the so-called healthcare games. That is, we will develop games that aim to educate physicians, children and students, including university students, on health issues. This education is crucial. Of course, will also continue to develop technical expertise and provide services, in order to put into practice what we call the “people first” approach.
The New Economy: What is the contribution of eHealth Cyprus to the development of an efficient infrastructure in the area of healthcare in the region and beyond?
Dionysios Ksenos: The company, through its proposal to promote the health project and the creation of an eHealth Network in the countries of Southeast Europe from Algeria to Romania, enables countries and their governments to implement and build an eHealth infrastructure without the cost that this implies and without buying the software; they can simply use the software and pay the cost or remuneration through one of three options. These options are either a) a transaction fee, i.e. a fee paid per each transaction made by the health organisation, b) a fixed amount and a lower transaction fee or c) a fixed amount alone for the next 25 years. This does not require health organisations to invest huge amounts but rather allows them, through the utilisation of the platform and the rationalisation and reorganisation of their systems, to create the capital that will finance the eHealth project through the project itself.
The New Economy: Dionysios Ksenos, thank you very much.
Dionysios Ksenos: Thank you for this opportunity and for the award. I would like to thank the New Economy once again.
I want to offer this award and all the effort that went into it to the citizens of Southeast Europe, because they deserve better health and a better quality of healthcare. I also want to make sure you also understand what for us is a very important message: When we talk about health, we are talking about life itself. And that is something all citizens have a right to. Thank you.