Estonia holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July to December 2017 (https://www.eu2017.ee). Its main focus is related to the Digital Societyand the Free flow of data in theEuropean Union, as the fifth freedom of the European Union.
Today, healthcare systems are transformed by digital technologies, and most of the European policy-makers have defined strategies to implement digital health solutions, even if some barriers are still to be overcome.
The Free flow of data in healthcare makes difference through hitting a triple aim:
Increased access and safety in healthcare can be achieved through empowered citizens and adequate data availability at the point of care;
Sustainability of health systems will be supported by value- based approach;
New economic opportunities, jobs and investment will be created using data-driven health care innovation.
The Estonian EU Presidency aims to advance digital innovation in healthcare, in particular focussing on:
The right of citizens to access, manage and control their health data electronically in a convenient and secure manner;
Better use of health data, in particular for research and innovation purpose.
The Ministry of Social Affairs of Estonia and theEuropean Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), have developed the Digital Health Society (DHS).
Because a holistic view is needed, this movement has integrated inputs from all stakeholders interested in thedevelopment of digital health, sharing a vision, between citizens and patients, policy-makers, health professionals and healthcare services managers, scientists, companies, startups, insurers and mutual funds, investors, etc. about the strategies and actions to achieve the digital transformation of healthcare systems.
Fig. 1 The Multi-stakeholders Digital Health Ecosystem
The Digital Health Society (DHS) is including a series of activities:
The DHS Declaration
The DHS Declaration, fruit of the Digital Health Society movement and as a consensus among all stakeholders, is designed to support the work of the European Commission in the framework of the Digital Single Market strategy and the communication expected to be published by the end of the year. It also aims to support the discussions at the Council of the European Union, in view of the adoption of Council conclusions expected in December 2017.
A public consultation has been engaged widely in Europe from July to September 2017. The present DHS Declaration is open to co-endorsement and co-signature to all interested organisations during and after the high-level eHealth conference of the Estonian EU Presidency, 16-18 October 2017.
The signatory organisationswill then form apermanent multi-stakeholdersgroup(continuously open to new members), which will, in collaboration with the Member States and the European Commission:
Initiate and coordinate European DHS Task forceson key challenges for the DHS; 4 have already been created on:
Convergence roadmap on Interoperability standards
Citizen-controlled Data Governance and Data donors
Legal Framework for Free flow and secondary use of health data
Digital transformation and change management in health and social care organisations
Generate and promote pan-European actions and projects, gathering the commitments of the stakeholders (all categories mentioned above) to progress tangibly on the listed challenges;
Encourage voluntary cooperation by Member States in the implementation of digital health innovations at the European scale;
Monitor and measure the impact of these actions and commitments and the tangible progressof the digitalisation of healthcare systems across Europe.
The conclusions and results of this collaborative work will be presented at the conference Health in the Digital Society. Digital Society for Health,co-organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs of Estonia,ECHAlliance and HIMSS Europe, in Tallinn, net 16-18 October 2017.
The event is focusing on how digital technologies and wider use of health data are changing our lives and the ways of healthcare. Through a combination of educational sessions, interactive workshops and valuable networking opportunities, the conference will not only showcase already existing digital health solutions, but also use-cases and technologies to demonstrate that citizen-centric health services and systems are genuinely valuable.
The programme is built around 3 mantras:
Building citizen-driven demand in eHealth
eHealth supporting the value driven and sustainable health and social services
eHealth as a driver of innovation and economic development
The sessions will present discussions around a broad range of topics, technologies and concepts such as: citizens access and control of their own health data, personalised health, Internet of Healthy things, blockchain, virtual reality, behaviour changes, smart cities, mHealth, cybersecurity, mental health, big data, interoperability and standards, prevention...
This multi-stakeholders conference will bring together the EU policy-makers (especially Member State ministers responsible for health and social affairs and regions), patients/citizens organisation representatives, large IT and healthcare companies and start-ups healthcare professionals, hospital managers, researchers, insurers...