The U.S. Embassy congratulates the organizers of the third Women’s Health Conference in Romania, which brings together health care professionals, policy makers, civil society, and media.
Coming together today to discuss women’s health issues is an important step towards addressing Romania’s health care challenges.
Improving the public health system starts with the smart implementation of new policies and laws. The effective use of data can help governments make informed decisions to increase efficiency and improve outcomes for patients.
In the United States we spend more than 3 trillion dollars a year on health care with costs continuing to rise. This amounts to more than 17 percent of our GDP. At the same time, we struggle with issues of wasteful spending and the inability of many Americans to access the care they need. Even with such huge sums dedicated to health care, we constantly strive to improve efficiency in the U.S. health care system.
To address these challenges in the United States, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, ARHQ, is a part of our Department of Health & Human Services. ARHQ develops the knowledge, tools, and data needed to improve the health care system and help Americans, health care professionals, and policymakers make informed health decisions.
ARHQ funds innovative research and models which can then be applied to hospitals across the United States. For example, the United States, like Romania, faces a challenge of having enough specialists in rural and underprivileged communities. ARHQ funded an innovative model to train and support primary care physicians to provide specialized care. The model has spread from the initial program in one state focusing on Hepatitis C care, to other states into new clinical areas.
The United States also faces challenges in the huge disparity in outcomes of patient care across the United States. To understand why some systems are more effective than others, ARHQ funded three Centers of Excellence to study how high-performing health care systems promote evidence-based practices in delivering care. ARHQ realized that we must understand why some systems have superior outcomes, yet little research existed to determine how and why certain systems achieve these superior outcomes. ARHQ’s project will help close this research gap, and allow health systems throughout the United States to improve their outcomes.
ARHQ’s website provides resources for both clinicians and the public, providing a resource for all citizens to learn more about health issues. For women, the site provides specific information on women’s health, including information on a variety of topics from diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, and smoking cessation. The goal is to provide as much information as possible to encourage women to take charge of their health care decisions.
Women’s health is an area where public awareness and prevention play key roles, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also maintains an Office on Women’s Health. That office improves the health of American women by advancing and coordinating a comprehensive women’s health agenda throughout HHS to address health care prevention and service delivery, research, public and health care professional education, and career advancement for women in the health professions and in scientific careers. You can learn more about this office on www.womenshealth.gov.
To achieve better outcomes in Romania, I urge the government to use data in the most efficient manner as possible, just as ARHQ strives to do, and to encourage the public to play a greater role in the decision-making process.
We want to encourage an open and broad dialogue about the performance of the Romanian health care system.
All those involved – government, parliament, international organizations, and the private sector – need to be part of the conversation.
A structured dialogue between the decision-makers, researchers, patient groups, and the business community can help inform and strengthen national health policy while promoting efficiency and effectiveness.
We congratulate the openness this government has shown to improve consultation with all interested parties. The Ministry of Health can arrive at the best decisions for Romanian patients through the consideration of numerous viewpoints and experiences.
The Ministry of Health will have more opportunities to use data effectively for research and study. The Ministry continues to increase the data it collects through its new health card introduced in 2015. Academia and businesses eagerly look forward to assessing this data. Data sharing can allow for increased study, assessment, and targeting of public health issues in Romania.
Again, we appreciate your willingness to continue the discussion and to work collaboratively to ensure efficient and sustainable improvements in the public healthcare system in Romania.
Today’s presentations and roundtable discussion are intended to facilitate access to the best practices and policies in the field of women’s health.
Again, thank you for having me here today at the Women’s Health Conference. I wish you fruitful discussions and a successful meeting!