A prodigious decade
We have been witness to a dizzying decade and some surprising changes.
When we look back on the past 10 years, a number of things come to mind. Simple mobile phones were still the best selling phones on the market, but the smartphone war had already begun.
Now we know which came out on top. In fact, nowadays most of us has at least one smartphone and we spend a considerable amount of time glued to our screens, dependent on our phones for practically everything. We should also mention the spectacular evolution of social networks, which are now omnipresent in our lives and have changed the way we interact in the more global, closer world. The digital revolution, like the industrial revolution, is changing the world and the way we work. The past decade has been a prolific one for companies that have helped make ho-hum tasks available at the click of a button, such as the digitalisation of transport and tourism, the digital press, mobile payments, digital marketing, applications (Apps), etc.
Various social issues that many of us were unaware of just a few years ago have since been made priorities, such as gender and economic or racial inequality. Climate change is already noticeable, though it seems we’re a few years off being fully aware of what it may involve and of the measures required to tackle it. And the self-driving car is just around the corner, not to mention other emerging technologies, such as 3D printing, wearable devices and the Internet of things, all of which seem likely considering recent technological trends.
Without a doubt, the decade has been marked by the major economic crisis we have suffered and from which we still have not yet fully recovered. We are fortunate enough to be able to incorporate in the preface of this book two El País articles, which represent the decade perfectly.
We have managed to collect fantastic opinion pieces on the changes that have taken place over the past ten years in specific areas of our country’s healthcare. Perhaps we’re missing some topics of undoubted interest, and we could have extended the book even more than we have. But our intention was not to carry out an exhaustive review of all the topics that have marked this decade in one way or another. On the contrary, our aim was to accurately represent professionals of recognised prestige who would tell us, within their particular scope of activity, their impression of the evolution of healthcare in their area(s) of expertise.
In my opinion, the group of professionals chosen were more than up to the task. I am deeply grateful for the quality and sincerity of their responses. With this book, we also wanted to define a turning point in our development as an independent research and consulting group in relation to all the topics of interest to us and about which we already have some experience. I believe that it is enough to take a look at the bibliography published by Outcomes’10 throughout these ten years to see, on the one hand, that we are already at a stage of certain maturity and, on the other, that magnificent challenges await us to which we must offer the appropriate responses.
It is difficult to pick out the most significant themes and authors of this book. We asked our contributors to avoid making an exhaustive review of each topic, but rather to offer us their particular vision of the changes that have occurred during this period. And I think that the book provides readers with valuable material, providing an overview of this decade of prodigious change in healthcare.
The book can be read like a newspaper: article by article, in whatever order you prefer, because the topics are diverse and extensive.
We have contributions on spectacular developments in various specialities or areas of knowledge, such as hospital pharmacy, assisted reproduction, health economics or primary care; suggested reflections on the treatment of specific pathologies such as diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis or oncohaematological diseases; without forgetting new therapeutic guidelines and groups of drugs that have revolutionised treatments, such as immunoncology, therapies for osteoarticular diseases, new anticoagulants or enteral nutrition.
The book also includes more cross-cutting contributions that affect all areas of care, which will involve a change in the way we understand and care for patients and their needs, from purely relational or symptomatic needs to others such as the processing of health information, authorisation and access to drugs, the importance of health outcomes, patient-centred medicine, shared decision-making, compliance with treatment or the necessary changes that will come about in the way we organise ourselves as a health system. We have also tried to incorporate patients’ views, both generally and on some specific issues, for example, on hepatitis C.
In short, I think the reader will enjoy the final result. I hope so, because our intention has always been twofold: to celebrate a path that we have shared with all of you throughout these ten years and to quietly reflect on all that has been achieved during this prodigious decade, as well as what is to come.
Director of Outcomes’10