A human response to a nationwide healthcare crisis

21.12.15 AHK Griechenland - News-Hauptkategorie, Mitglieder-News

In a socio-economic climate as unstable as the one we’re currently experiencing across the globe, cuts and other financial restrictions are an unfortunate certainty. Different governments might use different tactics, but money-saving measures all have inevitable – and often undesirable - impacts on the services a country can provide. The healthcare sector, despite its fundamental human importance, is not immune.

Nowhere have the results of cuts been more acutely evident than Greece in recent years. The extremely complex political and economic crisis Greece has experienced over the last five years has led to an approximate 25% drop in GDP and an increase in the rate of unemployment of around 30%. At the same time, the Greek government has made large cuts in all sectors, including the highly-sensitive healthcare sector.

Facing low budgets and a near-impossible strain on resources, the Ministry of Health has been forced to change drastically in its bid to survive. A major consequence has been hospitals around the country resorting to very cheap medical and sanitary products in their daily treatment of patients; many of these products are of insufficient quality.

However, compromise does not have to be the answer. Some healthcare companies have worked extremely hard to figure out how cuts do not inevitably have to lead to lower quality healthcare. Our experience over the last five years has shown us that absorbing funding cuts requires flexibility, agility and the cooperation of all stakeholders. 

We have been able to help patients – who are already suffering from the wider impacts of the economic crisis – by providing top quality medical and sanitary products at very competitive prices. By doing so, we can safeguard the most valuable of all goods: an individual’s wellbeing.

Two factors are absolutely paramount in any company’s ability to do so: i) a significant reduction in operating costs and ii) cooperation among all medical product sellers in Greece. Companies should look to supply sellers with smart, local representation partnerships for the distribution and promotion of their products.

To take HARTMANN as an example, the message has been conveyed to the entire healthcare sector that we produce and import a large range of top-quality medical products at competitive prices.  Backed by numerous examples, we have shown that we provide long-term profitability for dozens of representatives throughout Greece. Through certified partnerships and continuous training, these representatives can successfully sell and distribute our products.

But it’s not enough for individual healthcare companies to find their own way, without the help or partnership of other companies, where different services could be used for a joined-up approach. Healthcare in Greece is a very intricate jigsaw puzzle, requiring all stakeholders to come together if we are to complete the whole picture. When one element is missing, there is a knock-on effect felt across the entire sector. And it is ultimately patients who suffer.

Of course, there is no one simple fix. It is a question seeking out the innovative solutions concealed in the chaos of the crisis. We must ask ourselves: how can we do this differently so that businesses and individuals can thrive?

The only fixed reality in life is change. For an organism as complex as a nation’s healthcare system, the state of flux is as dramatic as it is constant. In the face of a crisis like the one Greece currently faces, we must arm ourselves with emotion - and also reason - to predict the most likely course the future will take. It then falls on companies to adjust their own strategies and operations to make sure they are in the best position to respond to the vagaries of that future. Of course, our ability to adapt to new circumstances is often what defines us.


Dr Panos Koronakis – Rohlf 

Founder of PAUL HARTMANN Hellas A.E. (2002)
HARTMANN Award 2015 - Professional Management in Complex Environment
Member of the Board of Directors of the German-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Dr Koronakis is the CEO of HARTMANN Greece. He holds a doctorate in 
Biotechnology and has published articles in Neurobiochemistry in 
international journals and conferences. He is also author of 3 books about 
Greek wisdom applied to life and management.



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Elisa Liouta

Tel.: 0030 210 64 19 038
Fax: 0030 210 64 45 175
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