EFN invited to High-Level Conference on Digital Health “EU on the Move”

EFN invited to High-Level Conference on Digital Health “EU on the Move”

Posted on November 11, 2020

 As one of the highlights of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, the country has organised a High-Level Conference titled “Digital Health 2020 – EU on the Move”. The EFN has been invited to this conference as nurse representative to see what the latest advancements in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital health have been at the EU-level.

This conference brought together representatives from all parties involved in advancing digital health – decision-makers from politics, science, medicine, business, civil society, including patient representatives, and healthcare professions. Speakers discussed current and future applications of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare sector and tried to analyse both potential and as well as possible risks. AI and new digital health technologies can bring added value that the EU and Europe, as a common economic, legal and value-based community, have to offer in the field of Big Data and AI for science-driven, value-based and patient-centred healthcare.

Jens Spahn, German Federal Minister of Health, said that we all need to pave the EU’s way to make the most of health data and digital health. Moreover, he said that he is a strong advocate of the creation of a European Health Data Space. Prof. Martin Hirsch (ADA Health) explained how he believes that citizens, through apps and devices, are already measuring their own health and vital data and analysing it to come up with their own health insights (quality of sleep, number of steps per day, etc.) – this health data could and should be shared to improve health innovation and to come up with better treatments.

EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, was in charge of some of the meeting’s closing remarks. She spoke about how both data and information sharing are key in healthcare. However, there are many challenges ahead that require careful consideration. That is because a person’s health data is the most sensible piece of information that a person can give. EU rules on data protection and citizen’s right must not be negotiable. In this context, the upcoming EU Health Data Space should improve people’s lives by supporting the free movement of digital health services.o We need a stronger “European Health Union” in which all Member States work together. Finally, both the EMA and the ECDC will see their competencies increased and will touch upon the topic of data use.

The EFN would like to remind all stakeholders that it is part of two EU-funded projects that are developing new systems for interoperable Electronic Health Records to be used across Europe and beyond. These projects are InteropEHRate and Smart4Health.