European Health Forum Gastein

2–4 October 2019

Disruption, and its potential impact on health, is the theme of this year’s European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG). On 2–4 October, stakeholders from across the fields of public health and health care gather in Bad Hofgastein, Austria for the 22nd EHFG.

Founded in 1998, the EHFG provides a platform for discussion and advancement of health policy. The meeting looks beyond classic spheres of health policy, with various thematic tracks focusing on: disrupting innovation, systems for change, future formulas, and transforming societies.

The theme of disruption – challenging the status-quo and transforming approaches – affects numerous areas of health: from how digitalization and artificial intelligence might influence the future of health care, to tackling misconceptions that block improved health equity.

On the agenda

WHO/Europe is lending its expertise by participating in, and organizing, some sessions including:

  • Changing the game on health inequalities: following the release of the European Health Equity Status Report, this session highlights and proposes ways to close the existing gaps in health and well-being across the WHO European Region. These threaten core values of solidarity and stability which underpin the Region’s prosperity and peace.
  • Can people afford to pay for health care?: protecting people from financial hardship, particularly for out-of-pocket payments, is a key part of universal health coverage. This session will hear results from WHO’s new analysis of financial protection, and discuss reforms undertaken in countries across the Region.
  • The human touch in a digital world: Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe-nominee will give keynote remarks during the plenary session, discussing how health care is built on relationships between individuals.
  • Press point on climate change: WHO Regional Director for Europe ad interim, Dr Piroska Ostlin, will take part in a press point on the global climate crisis as a public health emergency.
  • European alcohol policies: this interactive session asks what more can be done to improve cross-border collaboration, consumer rights and intercountry agreements to reduce alcohol-related harm and tackle inequalities resulting from the harmful use of alcohol.
  • The global climate crisis: a public health emergency: Dr Ostlin also takes part in a fireside chat event alongside the European Union’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, in a session which highlights the threat of climate breakdown.

Plenary sessions will cover the central issue of disruption, the importance of a human touch in a digital world, and the global climate crisis. It is possible to follow all plenary sessions via live stream; simply click the correct plenary session in the programme here.

Participant information

EHFG will include senior policy- and decision-makers from the European Union, business and industry, health-care funders and service providers, and civil society. Experts and researchers in the health-care and public health sectors will also attend the conference.