The first day of the 2018 conference of Partners of the EIPonAHA kicked off strongly with Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food safety, welcoming participants to the event and a high level session on the Digital Tranfromation of Health and Care in the Digital Single market. Discussions continued focussing on the past achievements of the EIPonAHA and what's to come in the future. The panel sessions held later on in the day focussed on the priorities of the upcoming communication of the Commission on the future of digital health and care, such as the cross border interoperability of electronic health record systems, speeding up data-enabled research and personalised medicine and accelerating the deployment of new digitally-enabled care models.
A summary of the main conclusions, key quotes and statistics can be seen below. Some presentations from the speakers are also available for download.
The digitisation of health and care in the Digital Single Market is all about the potential to follow a people-centric approach.
Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commission: “If we want people to age in good health, we need to help them live in good health from early childhood onwards”.
Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament: “A people-centred approach to the digital transformation of health and care needs to bring generations together.”
In Europe, life expectancy is increasing, together with a growing incidence of chronic diseases and multi-morbidity. According to Eurostat, the percentages of people aged 65+ are expected to rise from 19.5% in 2017 and 20.4% in 2020 up to 23.9% in 2030.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is implementing a global campaign to combat ageism by:
• Gathering data and evidence to inform effective communication and selection of concrete actions to tackle the phenomenon.
• Establishing a global coalition to lead the way towards a non-ageist world.
• Creating a communication platform to provide the tools and messages to help reframe age and aging around the world.
• Implementing selected structural changes to health and social policy to combat ageism effectively.
Alana Officer, WHO: “Say YES to age.” “Say NO to ageism.”
A European Survey in 28 countries, with 55,000 participants, found that ageism was more prevalent than sexism and racism (with 35% of respondents reporting unfair treatment on the grounds of age). Cf. European Social Survey and General Social Survey.
The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing has made a great deal of progress since its launch in 2011. Five speakers offered a variety of facts and figures to illustrate this.
Regina Roller Wirnsberger, Graz University, Austria: “The Blueprint is the Partnership’s most important deliverable. The Partnership’s focus really is on people.”
Alpana MAIR, Scottish Government, Scotland: A project like SIMPATHY managed to work with nine different reference sites and all the relevant action groups: https://ec.europa.eu/eip/ageing/news/simpathy-project- tackle-polypharmacy-elderly_en
Esteban de Manuel Keenoy, Kronikgune, Spain: There are close to 90 Commitments made to the Partnership.
In the new 2018-2020 cycle of the Partnership, a number of activities (such as legislation, funding, policy cooperation, and collaboration mechanisms) will be put into place to align the Digital Single Market priorities on digital transformation of health and care with the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA). How can the Partnership contribute to reach this alignment? How can the European Commission further support the Partnership?
Miguel Gonzalez-Sancho, DG CONNECT: “We want to support the people doing the good work on the ground – the EIP on AHA – as much as possible”
By 2050, the number of people aged 80 and above in Europe will double from 5% to 10%. Consequently, public investments are needed to cope with the increasing demand for long-term care systems and for better quality of life for elderly people. There are variations across OECD countries in terms of public expenditure: this ranges from a minimum of 0.2% of GDP (in Hungary), up to
3.7 of GDP (in the Netherlands) – with an overall average of 1.7% of GDP spent.
Electronic health records are important components of health and care systems. Interoperability is a key issue for the Digital Single Market strategy so as to empower citizens, ensure security, and connect and share health data between systems on a large scale.
Henrique Martins, SPMS, Portugal: “An eHealth strategy has to deal with concrete problems. Just putting a service online, without having a project in the field that really makes use of that IT-enabled service is less powerful than combining both initiatives.”
Henrique Martins, SPMS, Portugal: There are 10 million citizens in Portugal, and 5 million outside Portugal who can connect with the country’s Citizen Portal. In fact, five years after its launch, only 1.8 million citizens are using the portal. This has to do with what are called “digital citizens”: citizens in Portugal – and perhaps in other European regions – are not yet ready for eHealth. They need to be brought into a digital, eHealth-enabled world: this is the big challenge.”
This session focused on whether large data sets, expertise, and computing capacity can be connected securely across Europe so as to accelerate data-enabled research and personalised medicine, while respecting the highest privacy and ethical standards.
Carina Dantas, Caritas Coimbra, Portugal: “Collecting data is a very powerful thing. Ethics is not an option.”
Denis Horgan, European Alliance for Personalised Medicine, Belgium: “We need a lot of data. How can we link different infrastructures together, and how can we ensure security and maximise benefit for patients?”
The goal of this session was to identify concrete actions to address the gaps in capacity and knowledge about digital transformation that can then be transmitted to the Partnership. Hence, the main output of the session was a list of challenges that could be addressed for deployment purposes in the future including, for example, digital services for patients’ enrolment and patient-centred care.
Javier Quiles, SERGAS, Spain: “Before starting with the deployment of eHealth solutions, you need to define a consistent strategy to join up efforts in the same direction.”
Francesca Avolio, AReSS, Italy: In Puglia (Italy), 79% of health expenditure is allocated to cover the needs of citizens with chronic diseases.
Roberto Viola, General Director DG CONNECT: “If they want to, citizens should have access to their medical records. The next step is cooperation between centres of excellence for data-sharing.”
Roberto Viola, General Director DG CONNECT: In 2018, a forthcoming Communication that sets the strategy for a “digital revolution” in health and care, will be based on three pillars emerging from the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market.