Faculty, Guest Experts Address Healthcare Policy in Pandemic Economy

The current Covid-19's pandemic has challenged our society: our certainties, our way of life, our working conditions and has altered the way we understand the dynamics of contemporary crises. Within the last few months, as the Covid-19 pandemic became the focus of intensive international discussions, unprecedented financial investments and a global vaccination campaign; it has also brought learning opportunities for practitioners enrolled in the Master in Healthcare Management program at Webster University Geneva.

This pandemic has intensified many tensions and communication inaccuracies at all level of society and the healthcare field. Despite everyone's efforts, the pandemic is leading to a major economic collapse and a disruption of the entire healthcare system.

In this context and in alignment with the Spring semester M.A. course, Healthcare 5220 “Healthcare Policy and Economics”, Webster University organized a virtual panel discussion.  John Gunson, PhD; Françoise Maillard Strüby, IL, PhD; and Teodora Duarte-Quilao, RN, PhD; organized the event in collaboration with Emmanuelle Garnier, IL, MA, CRA, as facilitator, and with Dominique Jolly, PhD, as rapporteur.

Panelists for Webster University Geneva Healthcare Economy

The purpose of this panel discussion was to provide a space for discussion among the participants. It was an opportunity to bring the students of the Master in Healthcare Management and Leadership program together with experts in the field of health care and high-level politicians to debate this topical issue: The stakes and challenges of healthcare policies in the current economic environment pondering limitations and opportunities with new insight based on various perspectives and possibilities.

The panelists were experts in health care, experienced politicians and economists at the national and international level who implement health care policies and procedures for Switzerland. We had the pleasure of welcoming: Rosette Poletti, IL, EdD; Gisèle Ory, MSc; Philippe Leuba, MA; Luc Schenker, MSc; and Prof. Jolly, who each expressed different points of view regarding the three main questions.

What has been challenged by the Covid19 pandemic?

On this first topic, the speakers developed the concepts of economic dependency, geopolitical difficulties, inefficient governance, and how restructuring value-chains may become overwhelming given the problems generated by the health crisis. In the corporate world, amongst average citizens or politicians, different attitudes have been observed such as anticipating to rapid adjusting. The following were discussed: anticipating adjusting to rapid change, while reluctantly resisting conforming with the commitments of healthcare professionals to citizens and politicians level.

2nd Question: In this context, how can we inspire confidence in such a period of uncertainty?

The panelists agreed on the notions of certainty-uncertainty, trust-mistrust and the necessity to listen to people's concerns with humility. They expressed the difficulties that authorities have in making choices when implementing health care policies and procedures, the possibilities and restrictions involved, and the need to take into consideration the concepts of self-determination and the freedom of choice as central elements. It's all about strengthening a common purpose amid limitations, and honoring innovation that values diversity of perspectives and possibilities.

3rd Question: In this period of change and transformation, what propositions would you make?

Finally, the third question was addressed. The panelists revealed a transformational vision, the need to generate endeavors to move the economy onward and to conduct an in-depth review of the entire healthcare system.

They highlighted the necessity of learning from the experience of this ongoing crisis and acknowledge unpredictable uncertainties amongst the governance principles, hence forward prompting politicians, scientists, citizens to invest in novel technology while fortifying the link between theory, research and practice with ongoing changing horizons with confidence and deliberate innovations. Let us be passionately committed to respecting others and value the coming to know day by day.

Following their presentations, the panelists graciously answered questions from the graduate students in the Master in Healthcare Management at Webster University Geneva, which has been taught locally (in French) for over 30 years.

The M.A. has enrolled mid-career practitioners in Healthcare from across the francophone ‘Swiss Romande’ region, and has contributed greatly to the local sector. Its extended Graduate Certificate program in Advanced Research in the healthcare domain provides further academic and professional development for its M.A. alumni. Webster University Geneva and the Healthcare Management department thank especially our expert guests, who contributed their time and insights during these most challenging days for healthcare leaders.

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