Connecting global dots in digital health at the #DHWS24

Connecting global dots in digital health at the #DHWS24

Highlights from the 11th Digital Health & Wellness Summit at 4YFN hosted by ECHAlliance – the Global Health Connector


Last week’s Digital Health & Wellness Summit, held on 28th February, was our 11th Edition and was a big success, capturing the global spotlight on digital health during Mobile World Congress and making it a key event in the industry.

With a theme of “Catalysing change: connecting the dots globally for sustainable digital healthcare systems”, the summit welcomed a diverse audience, with 941 registrations representing 128 countries. The event proved to be a melting pot of ideas, experiences, and digital health innovations, with 34 speakers coming from over 20 different countries. We again connected the dots: Uniting sectors and continents for Digital Health.


Within the themes of Women’s Health, Healthy Ageing, Digital Health and Data, and Green Health, the summit provided an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to connect, fostering a deeper understanding of both needs and solutions.

In addition, with dedicated  deep dives into the potential for collaborations with Africa and India, we could showcase global opportunities for digital health businesses and initiatives.


Collaborating with 4YFN, the summit extended its influence to startups, academia, and other stakeholders in healthcare such as patient organisations and government bodies, creating a vibrant ecosystem for knowledge exchange and collaboration. Digital health emerged not only as a means to deliver healthcare services at scale and sustainably but also as a chance for growth and opportunities for companies.


Read our key highlights from the summit’s key sessions:


Women’s Health – Closing The Gender Health Gap 


Speakers Vincenzo Carbone, PhD, Gabriela Irrazabal, Marissa Fayer and moderator Karolina Mackiewicz


The session can be best summarised through the insights shared by our expert speakers. 


According to Marissa Fayer, one of the prominent speakers,“for the first time ever, Women’s Health was on the agenda at Mobile World Congress”, and we take pride in leading discussions on this vital topic. She also highlighted that “women’s health is just health and needs more investment, innovation, inclusive technology, and equitable solutions.”


In the words of another speaker, Gabriela Irrazabal, “Health technology is crucial in overcoming historical barriers to healthcare access for women and LGBTQ+. The deployment of mobile apps and online platforms is enabling wider access to vital health information and specialised healthcare services.” 

She further highlighted the importance of enhancing digital health literacy for empowerment, enabling informed decisions about health.

Acknowledging that there is still work to be done to close the gender gap in health, Irrazabal emphasised the necessity for ongoing commitment to gender-focused health research and the inclusion of women in clinical studies as critical steps towards achieving equity in healthcare.


Healthy Ageing – Leveraging Technology For Quality Of Life


Speakers Miriam Cabrita, Fotis Gonidis, Ulf Ivarsson, Adam Milward and moderator George Margelis


This session was a great opportunity to gain insights from some of ECHAlliance’s members with a well-established track record in the field of longevity and healthy ageing. The session featured speakers from various countries, including Fotis Gonidis from Gnomon Informatics in Greece, Ulf Ivarsson from Moxiam in Sweden, who is also our ECHAlliance ambassador and Chair of the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council in Australia, and Miriam Cabrita from Shine2Europe, one of our project partners in Portugal.


The focus on transitioning towards wellness rather than a sickness service was a key theme, with each speaker presenting compelling examples alongside active audience engagement. However, it was clear that challenges persist in the adoption and deployment of digital health mixed with prevailing myths about digital health skills of older people.


Data and Digital – Elevating Healthcare Transformation


Speakers Jovan Pavićević, Tobias Silberzahn, Michael Bidu, Jean Philbert Nsengimana and moderator Kari Kohtamäki


A dynamic and packed session was led by our member and ECHAlliance ambassador, Kari Kohtamäki from VTT in Finland, with insightful contributions from Jean Philbert Nsengimana from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who highlighted the significant opportunities within Africa’s digital health landscape.


Michael Bidu from MYND Therapeutics shared perspectives from Canada, delving into the democratisation of healthcare, digitization of medicine, and the role of data and AI in both Canada and the US.


Jovan Pavićević from our Foundation Partners – Better in Slovenia emphasised the necessity to shift from system-centric healthcare, advocating for open platforms to establish a more patient-centred system.


We also heard from Tobias Silberzahn, representing our Foundation Partners McKinsey & Company from Germany, discussing Project Medicus – a large-scale, multi-cloud initiative involving 5 ministries, connecting 4 university hospitals and 200 regional hospitals in the Southwest of Germany.


During the session, the audience used online platforms to engage in discussions about key stakeholders required for buy-in in digital health and identified existing barriers in the field.


Green Health: Leading The Change – Pioneers Of Sustainable Healthcare


Speakers Mohamed El Sahili, Júlia Altarriba, Robert Metzke, Christina Berthon Kirkegaard and moderator Ain Aaviksoo.


Health systems are a large and critical part of any society. Keeping them sustainable should therefore be a natural goal. At the same time, the sustainability of health systems means becoming “greener” while maintaining high-performance standards, as well as fiscal and workforce sustainability.

Christina Berthon Kirkegaard of the Region of South Denmark shared key steps that hospitals and healthcare facilities can take to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance sustainability:


  • Energy Efficiency: Implementing measures like LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems, building automation and. Investing in renewable sources like solar panels.
  • Waste Reduction: Develop comprehensive recycling programs, prioritising reusable supplies.
  • Green Building Standards: Follow LEED for sustainable facility design, using environmentally-friendly materials.
  • Sustainable Procurement: Prioritise suppliers with environmental responsibility,eco-friendly packaging and reusable products.
  • Reducing Medical Waste: Promote practices that minimise medical waste and encourage device reuse when appropriate.
  • Public Awareness: Educate staff, patients, and the public through training programs and informational campaigns. Integrate green transition into health education.
  • Collaboration: Work with healthcare facilities, governments, and environmental organisations to share best practices.
  • Advocacy: Support policies such as carbon pricing and regulations for clean energy adoption.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Regularly monitor and report on environmental performance, identifying areas for improvement.
  • Innovation: Explore technologies like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring to reduce resource and energy-intensive activities.


India: Global Health Connector: Unlocking Digital Health Collaboration In India


Speakers Prof Rajendra Gupta, Pavan Ananth and moderator Karolina Mackiewicz


India’s digital health market presents substantial opportunities for innovation and investment, propelled by a large population and growing smartphone usage that are driving digital health deployment at massive scale. Recent regulatory reforms in India have created a favourable environment for collaboration and investment in digital health initiatives.


Collaborative opportunities between India and Europe in digital health encompass research, technology transfer, and investment partnerships, enabling both regions to leverage their strengths and resources for mutual benefit. India stands to gain insights from Europe on data privacy, while Europe can learn from India’s adept use of innovative technologies to overcome language barriers in healthcare delivery, leveraging them for universal health coverage.


Africa Is Rising – Africa Digital Health Networks


Speakers Alain Labrique, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Declan Kirraine and Brian O’Connor.


The launch of The Africa Digital Health Networks was announced. 

In our chair Brian O’Connor words: “ADHN is set to be the epicentre of Africa’s Digital Health Communities of Practice. This initiative aims to foster communication, facilitate partnerships, and promote collaboration in the development and adoption of hashtag #DigitalHealth solutions across the continent.”

ADHN made its debut in October 2023, at the Africa HealthTech Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. With the support of its Global Engagement Partner, ADHN, aims to empower 100,000 frontline health workers by 2030, accelerate technology adoption, and promote digital public infrastructure.



Inspiring global collaboration, the 11th Digital Health & Wellness Summit at 4YFN showcased the transformative power of innovation across Women’s Health, Healthy Ageing, Digital Health, and Green Health.
The summit reminded us how important digital health is and sparked new ideas for future growth. It opened doors for partnerships and improvements in healthcare.


As we keep moving forward, ECHAlliance is delighted to be supporting HLTH Europe 2024 this year, with our programme bringing together our over 75 + Ecosystems, Project partners, Members and our broader community to participate in an exciting, innovative and impactful series of sessions.


Save 150€ and secure your spot by registering to #HLTH Europe today!

Don’t miss out on the ECHAlliance discount code: HE24_ECH150


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