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MISFIRES Conference at UCD tackles the broken healthcare system

  • Date: Fri, Sep 20, 2019

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Susi Geiger

Professor Susi Geiger, UCD Professor of Marketing and Principal Investigator of MISFIRES ERC Programme

Friday, 20 September 2019: The MISFIRES Conference on Market Failures and Activism in Healthcare will take place today, Friday, 20 th September at NovaUCD. The conference brings together the world’s top social scientists in healthcare, including specialists from Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the UK among others, as well as leaders in the healthcare community.

Conversations will focus on access to, and overpricing, of medicine, patient information and data security issues, and patient advocacy to see what patients and activists do to challenge dominant market players to become better at what they do.

MISFIRES is funded through a highly prestigious €2 million ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator Grant and is led by Principal Investigator, UCD Professor of Marketing Susi Geiger. Professor Geiger’s unique combination of industry knowledge and academic leadership in business, marketing and social sciences helped to secure the grant which takes a multi-faceted
approach to evaluating this growing and complex, societal challenge.

The MISFIRES project aims to bridge the gap between industry, market participants and the general public through research conferences, public communications and outreach events.

MISFIRES is part of the Horizon 2020 Project which was created to raise the level of excellence in Europe’s science base and ensure a steady stream of world-class research to secure Europe’s long-term competitiveness.

Professor Susi Geiger, UCD Professor of Marketing and Principal Investigator of MISFIRES ERC Programme, said: “Healthcare is a human right that should be accessible and affordable to all. If we want a healthcare system that is equitable, we need to urgently tackle key challenges such as a move toward greater reliance on private healthcare, the personalization of medicine, and strong efforts toward digitalization, both here in Ireland and elsewhere. We need to learn from other countries and avoid past mistakes.

In Ireland, we have led the way in some areas—for instance, in negotiating novel deals over life-saving drugs such as the Cystic Fibrosis drug Orkambi, but we are behind in others such as implementing a nationwide electronic health record system.

In all of these issues, the patient voice is vital. As social scientists, we are in an ideal place to highlight that voice and make sure no-one is silenced. This extends to underrepresented groups who may have healthcare needs that the mainstream isn’t very well equipped to solve.

The MISFIRES conference tackles key challenges in healthcare by taking into account the perspective of stakeholders that are often least listened to—the patients and consumers of healthcare.”

Gemma Watts, MISFIRES Research Project Manager, said: “MISFIRES will explore how and why healthcare markets fail, will listen to all the stakeholders involved, and through research, will endeavour to uncover pathways and frameworks that will make our healthcare markets better. Our goal is to make our healthcare markets work better for all, but particularly those that need them, the patient.

An interdisciplinary approach is necessary due to the diverse nature of healthcare markets and those that operate in them. It is therefore essential to involve different representatives from industry, healthcare, research backgrounds and patients in this journey. Through the ERC grant and UCD, we have the funding and support to build a specialist research team to look at key issues in healthcare, focusing on specific areas such as HIV aids, diabetes, hepatitis C and genomics.”

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