Innovations in healthcare delivery: digital change

28 March 2019

On March 5th, EIF organized a debate on the “Innovations in healthcare delivery: digital change” – hosted by Michal Boni MEP – in order to provide insights and real-life examples of how digitisation is impacting European healthcare.

MEP Boni kicked off the debate by stating that “It is clear that there is a need to shift the healthcare paradigm from treatment of diseases to prevention, to understand how to prepare personalized services with the help of new technologies and to create the ‘patient-oriented’ healthcare area.”

Dr. Thomas Kostera of Bertelsmann Stiftung delivered a quick overview of the key findings from the Smart Health Systems study, which also features the Digital Health Index: Countries which have a strategy end up implementing Digital Health better than the others. Moreover, countries with dedicated institutions, mostly as a sub-institution of the Health Ministry, are better performing in setting standards, providing information and guidance (e.g. Canada and France). There is undoubtedly need for political leadership, for national politics to define what kind of health policy goal they want to reach with digital health and help stakeholders share the same vision. “The implementation of such a project needs to be made step by step together with promoting public acceptance in order for the general public to better understand the benefits and integrate end-users”, Mr. Kostera added.

Breda Corish from Elsevier highlighted a different dimension to a pure technology, medical devices focuson digitalisation of healthcare, specifically looking at the role of medical knowledge and patient information in enhancing clinical decision making and workflow. “A key challenge today is keeping up with the sheer volume and pace of development of medical knowledge. Big Data is a very powerful source of real-world evidence to complement the development of medical knowledge through research and medical trials. The digitalisation of healthcare is about using tech to transform medical knowledge into actions and to tailor them into clinical decisions that are specific to the particular circumstances of an individual patient.”
Ms. Corish offered an example of one of Elsevier’s recent projects with a hospital in London that implied developing new online electronic care pathway management systems (transformation of medical guidelines, documents and clinical protocol into highly granular data points and recommendations for individual actions). The decision support software created was able to dynamically cross-reference the medical knowledge against the very specific details of the individual patient and deliver personalized medical recommendations to the doctors. These recommendations are updated and refreshed as each cycle of tests is completed.

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