The ‘Health Visionary’ awards were presented during the official Gala organized by the “Do Rzeczy” weekly magazine in Warsaw on May 11, 2021. Prof. Henryk Skarżyński received the distinction in the category “Visionary of telemedicine and new technologies.” Other award-winners were Prof. Adam Witkowski, Prof. Jarosław Kaźmierczak, Prof. Mirosław Walczak, “Blue Butterfly” association, Dr. Roman Topór-Mądry, Małgorzata Gałązka-Sobotka, Lower Silesian Oncology Centre. Also awarded was a special Prize and the title of Health Ambassador.
The justification states that Professor Henryk Skarżyński’ proves that cutting-edge medical technologies, including telemedicine, which he was the first to introduce to Poland, help patients. Thanks to him, Polish patients are among the first to benefit from state-of-the-art solutions. His contributions include, among other things, the first screening test to detect hearing disorders, the National Network of Teleaudiology, which was awarded the Prix Galien golden medal, and the modern diagnostic equipment “Sense examination capsule.” His life is a mission of helping another human being’.
Broadly understood telemedicine had been the focus of Prof. H. Skarżyski’s interests for many years. He is its great advocate, noting the increasing importance of various e-health procedures: “Due to the current epidemiological situation in our country, telemedicine has rapidly evolved from a technological novelty into an essential tool enabling contact with the patient. Undoubtedly, the key to the successful implementation of this change was wider financing of telemedical procedures and advice by the National Health Fund. I’m sure that this change will greatly benefit patients, even after the pandemic ends. This is because there is not and will never be a health care system anywhere in the world that will ensure each of us equal access to specialists by traditional means. With that in mind, already 20 years ago, I started to conduct teleconsultations and seek a way to make our hearing treatment services, in particular rehabilitation, as accessible as possible to patients. It is necessary to provide the patient with well-organized, long-term post-operative care to ensure optimal hearing improvement after cochlear implantation. One of the most important tasks of that care is providing the optimal cochlear implant. Telemedicine is the only way to reduce costs, shorten travel time and distance that the patient had to cover to get to specialists, and at the same time to provide patients with highest quality services”.
It is worth adding that both Prof. Henryk Skarżyński and the National Network of Teleaudiology he created have won many awards in the country and abroad.
“Wizjonerzy Zdrowia” (Health Visionaries) is an award for those who dare to look into the future, plan and introduce changes in medicine and the health care system. The “Do Rzeczy” weekly decided to distinguish such people with the “Health Visionaries” title. During the COVID-19 pandemic, such awards have a unique role to play. In 2021, the awards were awarded in 10 categories. Also awarded was a Special Prize, and the title of Health Ambassador.