Aspen Healthcare Forum 2021 took place in the context of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic, which has had far-reaching implications for the health sector and beyond. While fighting the pandemic must undoubtedly remain a priority of health systems across the world, it is crucial that health systems continue to secure uninterrupted access to medical services to all other categories of patients, particularly chronic patients. The event, organized in a hybrid format, focused on exploring ways in which health systems can better cater to the needs of non-COVID patients and ensure continuous and universal access to medical services to all other categories of patients.  

The Forum further addressed developments in Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence, which have a prominent, synergistic and fast accelerating role in the development of the medical field in general, and novel diagnostics and therapies in particular. Aspen Healthcare Forum 2021 analyzed the key catalysts of a successful biotech enterprise in general and perspectives for Romania in developing the biotechnology ecosystem. The panellists discussed possible strategic investment areas – including infrastructure, new technologies, work force education, intellectual property and legislative environment – which could provide added value, contributing to the emergence of a successful biotechnology sector, strengthening the long-term resilience of the health system, as well as economic growth.  

Oncology remains a particularly challenging topic for Romania and the region. Already a priority at the level of European Union, as the newly launched “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan” shows, fighting cancer should also be a national priority in Romania. In this context, Aspen Healthcare Forum 2021 took a strategic approach, analyzing how a Romanian National Plan on combating cancer should look like. The Forum facilitated an exchange of ideas and best practices between representatives of the Working Group for Combating Cancer in the Romanian Parliament and their counterparts in the European Parliament and US Congress, in order to ensure that the Romanian National Plan would be in line with international best practices and to identify perspectives for cooperation.