The session was opened by Mr. Paul Timmers, Director of the Sustainable & Security society of DG CONNECT. He highlighted the great potential of digital technologies for addressing societal challenges, particularly with respect to European citizens’ daily lives.
The first speaker, Prof. Bart de Moor, presented a number of recent scientific developments that drive the trend towards a more proactive and systemic approach in healthcare delivery. He also showed several examples of how this approach has been successfully tested in pilot environments. Finally, he provided a prospective view on applications that they are likely to become reality in the near future.
The second speaker, Ann-Mari Fineman, presented Ambient Assisted Living programme (AAL). This action addresses the needs of the ageing population, with help of ICT in a more systemic and integrated manner. Also she mentioned some examples of ongoing projects successfully implementing this approach in day-to-day practice. Finally, she emphasised the benefits emerging from multidisciplinary collaboration as a key enabler for further innovation in citizens’ well-being.
The final speaker, Dr. Vittoria Colizza, highlighted how collaboration with the citizens can be harnessed to better address epidemic disease, by the example of influenza. INFLUENZANET project has developed a digital platform to collect and analyse large amounts of data provided by individuals on a voluntary basis. Beyond delivering benefits for the citizens themselves, this helps in reducing cost incurring for the healthcare system. Not at least, it provides a new source of information to the research community. She concluded her presentation by inviting everybody to participate on this ongoing innovative project.
At the end of the session, numerous questions were raised and a lively and interesting discussion emerged. For instance, concerns were brought up that the capabilities of some of today’s technology solutions may need to be improved. Also, there was consensus that there is a room for improving usability aspects to achieve a wider uptake of solutions already available in clinical practice. One set of questions focused on data security and privacy aspects. This was particularly discussed in relation to the large amounts of data that are going to be handled by different parties in the process of healthcare delivery. Another set of questions focused around challenges to engage the citizens as an active collaborator in the healthcare process. Some participants reported on challenges that they encountered in the past when it comes to activating the citizens to practically contribute to this process. As a possible solution gamification was proposed as a potential solution for stimulating citizens’ engagement.