Pharmacies will take over some parts of primary care, says CEO of Dr. Max pharmacies

CZ  | EN
21. 8. 2019
Reading time: 1 min.

Pharmacies – a place linked to health unlike any other, where most of us go more often than to see a doctor. An important player in the healthcare system. That is why we asked Daniel Horak, CEO of Dr. Max, the largest network of pharmacies in the Czech Republic, how he sees the future of healthcare.

What is the future for Czech healthcare and why?

Czech healthcare still represents a good standard for patients. In healthcare provision in general, aftercare is more problematic that the acute one. What will definitely change, and we can already see that, is a role and self-confidence of the new generation of patients that grew up in a completely different environment than their parents. At the same time there will be an increasing demand on resources because increasing life expectancy becomes more expensive with an aging population. So are the technologies and innovative drugs that make it possible. There is a growing number of chronically ill patients that  increasingly burden the system. From the pharmacies point of view, I see a huge relief for the healthcare system with us taking over some services.

What are the three things that could radically improve the Czech healthcare?

For me, the three lifebuoys are the following: implementation of the hospital stratification system and changing the inpatient care structure, tackling the lack of staff problem, and accelerating the digitization of the Czech healthcare system. These three things are essential for the effectiveness and quality of care provision in the future.

What technology has the greatest potential in healthcare?

eHealth will play an increasingly important role. Collecting, analyzing and evaluating patient’s data – be it for prevention or in case of duplicate care – will affect the costs and structure of healthcare.

What are the shortcomings and opportunities in using patient’s data?

Currently the healthcare community is preoccupied with an endless debate about data sharing security. At the same time patients are already collecting and providing a lot of medical data on their own. Therefore, it is quite possible that before the professionals agree on how to process any data, people will already get use to telemedicine and different health apps. This will also affect the structure of healthcare providers.

What area of healthcare do you think is worth investing in?

In general, the one with the fewest variable externalities. There will definitely be a growing demand for specialized care linked to diseases of affluence on one side and healthy lifestyle on the other side. At the same time, I see a lot of opportunities in eHealth. However, this is a risky area for investors because very few projects are successful in the end.

People in the field are sceptical that the state can significantly change the healthcare system and improve the services anytime soon. Do you think that the private sector can take over this role and have a major impact?

Maybe in some parts. But the question in not “either, or”. There will always be an irreplaceable role of state as a guarantee of healthcare standard and continuity. And if we take for example acute care, then private entities can never replace state and will always be just supplemental to it. However, if the state is to continue to act as a guarantee, it needs to focus not only on the medical practice but also innovate higher education and allocate more resources to it.