The purpose of the seminars is to help identify and define emerging issues, and stimulate new thinking on perennial challenges. Each seminar involves thought leaders for the topic under discussion, which may be national or global in scope. The format encourages an open and full exchange of views and involves a range of interests from the UK and outside. The particular mix of participants varies depending on the topic and may include: academics and research organisations, policy makers, government agencies, the biomedical research industries, health care providers, and patients’ groups and other NGOs. Summaries of the discussions are regularly published by OHE to encourage further attention to topics that affect the future of health care.
Since its inception, one of OHE’s core objectives has been to provide a forum for discussion. In 1999, a seminar programme was launched to increase the frequency and accessibility of such exchanges. Each seminar involves thought leaders for a topic on an emerging and perennial issue, which may be national or global in scope. The
format encourages an open and full exchange of views. The mix of participants varies by topic and may include: academics and research groups, policy makers, government agencies, the biomedical research industries, health care providers, patients’ groups, and other NGOs. Summaries of the seminar are published by OHE.
Some seminars focus directly on the UK, such as the seminar led by Nicholas Timmons that tackled the issue of NHS funding. The group discussed a “hypothecated” tax that would earmark funds for the NHS, potentially increasingly both transparency and funding stability. Experience in the UK for specific programmes provided
examples and suggested potential challenges to this approach.
Prof Peter Smith addressed health system strengthening, a concept familiar in the field of global health but also potentially useful in UK planning. The approach urges a wholistic, horizontal perspective wherein policy makers explicitly consider the interdependence of various aspects of the health care system when undertaking HTA analyses of system interventions. He set out research demonstrating how HTA could be applied at the system level to maximize benefits when resources are limited.
Prof David Grabowski led a seminar that offered a health economics perspective on how payment and delivery interventions can encourage high–value nursing home care. Lessons from the US effort to encourage high–value care were applied to the UK, which has also relied on regulation as the key guarantor of quality. Unacceptably
poor outcomes are common in both countries, partly because of insufficient research on the causes of poor care, which means that efforts and incentives to improve care are not well targeted.
The apparent productivity crisis in pharmaceutical R&D was the seminar topic of Prof Massimo Riccaboni. Shifts in internal company R&D strategy towards higher risk, higher payoff targets is a leading explanation for a headline decline in productivity. R&D portfolios are moving towards unmet needs with greater scientific challenge.