Hungary is an interesting country emerging from communist rule, transitioning through "goulash socialism", and trying to become a free market. My observation is that while they have made great strides, their cradle of strong government intervention in their daily lives is a crutch steeped in tradition and those shackles are hard to break- whether due to fear or comfort. That is the first part that must be understood to comprehend the focus of this symposium.
In healthcare in the U.S., quality of care is measured through government surveys that assess procedural adherence to set policies. In countries with a more Socialistic dynamic to healthcare, there is a financial compenent that is assessed and audited, in addition to the procedural elements. This is hard for Americans to understand- that the Government is directly involved in monitoring the financial aspects including budgeting, of healthcare businesses. The process is called "Controlling".
The foremost authority on Controlling is Dr. Eugen Hauke, from the Karl Landsteiner Institut fur Krankenhausorganistation Letiter was on the panel from Austria. To be honest, from an American viewpoint, it was almost comical watching the excitement of the person who was selected following his presentation to receive his autographed book "Controlling"!
Teresa Campos Garcia- my friend in the picture from Andalucia, Spain, is the Jefa del Servicio de Desarrollo Profecial y Formacion Andalucia. She presented from the standpoint of healthcare development and goverrnment involvement in Spain, and creating a more universal collaborative approach.
Then there was my part. Free market, non-financial controlling, and competition. I could tell in the audience who was in private business as they took many notes. It appeared however, that the majority were government workers, and I was an interesting, if not completely different way of comtemplating education to health care workers. They liked most the project I did in Orissa, India where Nevco assisted teaching a home health aide course to nurses in desperate need of education, via internet, streaming Nevco healthcare programs such as Understanding Hiv aids, TB, Infection Control, etc, in a curriculum geared to their needs. Nevco partnered with a non-profit in India who provided a translator for those who did not speak english. We donated all the programs, this E-learning experiment really hit home with the audience more so then my discussion of how Nevco competes in a competitive market.
At breakfast I sat with Dr. Szbolcs Fazakeas, the Hungarian appointment Member of the European Court of Auditors, and after lampooning the rigid nature of tradition which "exciled him" in his appointment to Luxembourg, because "that is how it always has been done", railed (and quite justly in my assessment), of the unfairness that Hungarians must obtain visas prior to entry into the United States notwithstanding the fact that the reverse is not true, and asked me to bring this up with my government.
The Hungarian people are intelligent, creative and despite being reserved have a very clever sense of humor when you get to know them. They could not have been any kinder to my wife Shelley and I, and it was a delightful experience.
I do hope I can help health care reform in their country, and sincerely wish for the opportunity.