The report helps businesses gain a unique insight into the socio-economic dynamics, and helps analyze how they affect healthcare systems and their evolution. It can serve as a valuable tool with actionable guidance for sales, marketing, R&D and business managers with industry related interests.
Four chapters cover the numerical and written analysis for the following topics: Economic Outlook (38 Key industry indicators), The Healthcare System (HC system structures), Reforms (restructuring, re-engineering or austerity efforts) and the Healthcare Market (Capital Equipment, Medical Devices, Disposables and Pharmaceuticals).
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- Belgium had a nominal GDP of €410 bn, with an economic growth rate of 1.4%.
- Population count in 2015 was around 11.3 m.
- Exports are equal to 84% of its GDP. 75% of its trading partners are within the EU, and from amongst all the EU countries it ranks 6th as the largest importer and exporter of goods and services.
- The main export goods include automobiles, not mounted or set diamonds, and dosage medication mixtures.
- Belgium ended 2015 with a budget deficit of 2.8% of GDP.
- Government expenditure is expected to remain strong; unusually high in particular for activities related to national security and migration.
The Healthcare System:
- The universal healthcare system in Belgium serves 99% of the population. It is a mix of private and public providers, paid for by out-of-pocket fees, social security contributions, and state financing.
- Funding is pooled at a regional and federal level, and redistributed through the social security department.
- The Federal Institute for Illness and Disability Insurance (RIZIV) plays a key role in the Belgian healthcare system. It channels the reimbursements for medical services to providers and patients, and creates the catalogue of DRG-based products.
- RIZIV receives close to 50% of its financial means from social contributions.
- Infant mortality, around 3.3/1000 is within average EU ranges. Life expectancy is around 80.6, also within average ranges for the EU.
- The top 5 causes of death in Belgium are coronary heart disease (12.4%), stroke (6.2%), lung cancers (5.6%), influenza and pneumonia (4.2%) and lung disease (4.1%).
- Healthcare spending in 2015 was equal to approximately 10.6% of the national GDP. As a general trend this expenditure is increasing extremely moderately, forecasted to reach 10.7% in 2017. The EU average expenditure of 2015 was around 10%.
- There are 5 major and competing public health insurance entities, from which the Belgian citizen must choose. This market is restricted by law for new entrants.
- Primarily the (language) Community governments are responsible for culture, language, education, health care and welfare for their respective zones. The basic healthcare policies they operate with are passed on from a federal level directly or transferred via regional authorities.
- For GP and specialist visits, medical expenses will be reimbursed 75% on average.
- Challenges include:
The reimbursement model does not reflect quality
Fraud and excessive reimbursement claims
Inequity of reimbursement for different specializations
Too little transparency of pricing and revenues
The greying of the population
Re-integration opportunities for the chronically ill
Almost half of Belgian hospitals have negative accounting results
Out-of-pocket payments are too high
Increasing social inequality
Recent reforms include:
Pact for the Future (2015)
Special Finances Act (SFA, 2015)
Social Third-Payer-Regulation (2015)
6th State Reform (2014)
The Medical Device Plan (2014)
Public Services’ Procurement (2013)
- Belgium ranks number two in the world as performing the highest number of clinical trials per capita.
- Due to the hospital physician’s remuneration system, the doctors’ opinions contribute substantially to the selection of products and purchasing decisions. The ultimate decisive factors are price and budget capacity, in respect of overall hospital strategy.
- Public funds are allocated to regional authorities based on the pathologies and necessities of the given area. Regional authorities will evaluate where public infrastructural investments are needed, including the needs of the healthcare market, and allocate their funds accordingly.
- The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) is the authority assessing and registering medtech.
- The Belgian pharmaceutical market in 2015 is valued around €4.6 bn.
- Annually around €50 m is spent on capital equipment purchases, its servicing, upgrades and or renewal.
- Belgium’s medical device market is valued around €3 bn in 2015.
- The sector for medical disposables in Belgium is valued at €1.2 bn.
- In 2015, imports of medical devices accounted for approximately 80% of the medical device market in Belgium.
Includes tables centralizing all relevant data on socio-demographics, macroeconomics and national Healthcare.
National Care Provision data:
Provides an overview of the Healthcare demographics: Nation Care provision data, Intensive Care units, Operating rooms, Emergency Rooms, Hospital services, Healthcare professionals.
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