View the Summit Recordings here!


Figures that speak for themselves: 3 days, 12 sessions, 400 participants, 50 speakers

The Digital Health Europe Summit 2021 brought together EU policymakers, funders, digital health experts and other stakeholders for inspiring and forward-looking debates. Topics ranged from real-life transformation through digital health (Day 1), via empowering citizens (Day 2) to scaling up innovation through health data (Day 3). 

Digital transformation is undoubtedly ongoing in the healthcare sector. However, it still lacks the right type of support, which can jeopardise the success of this process including the future European Health Data Space. The DHE Summit aimed to scrutinise the drivers and barriers of digital transformation through different lenses.  

The DHE Summit was a unique event which offered a very complex, multifaceted and diverse approach to the facts and challenges of digital transformation. Sessions zoomed in on infrastructure needs such as cloud computing, data connectivity and interoperability across borders. Experts discussed the ‘human factors’ of the process such as capacity building or citizen empowerment. A panel was dedicated to expected promising results and currently fatal diseases which medicine will be able to soon overcome thanks to health data-based research and innovation.  

Last but not least of all, a representatives of the European Commission shared with the audience what the future perspectives are and how all the efforts from different stakeholders will come into place to implement a common European vision on health data.  

Digital Health Europe is a project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 826353. It provides comprehensive support to the European Commission and Member States to advance the Digital Single Market priorities for the digital transformation of health and care, as outlined in the European Commission’s 2018 Communication.


Tuesday, 28 Sept., 9:00 - 12:00:
Real-life transformation through digital health

9:00 – 10:00 CEST – 1: Introduction to the topic

  • Marco Marsella (DG CNECT)
  • Policy context – Dr. Birgit Morlion (DG CNECT)
  • Keynote speech – Esko Aho (former Prime Minister of Finland)
  • Introduction to DigitalHealthEurope – Dr. Veli Stroetmann (empirica)
10:00 – 11:00 CEST – 2: Digital transformation through replication of European best practices in health and care
  • Strahil Birov (empirica)
  • Jon Switters (FUNKA)
  • Dr. Oscar Zanutto (Twinning “SoCaTel”)
  • Helena Biancuzzi (Twinning “OncologyInMotion”)
  • Mathieu Thébaud (Twinning “REHABLAB4ALL”)
  • Benjamin Cid-Bourié (Twinning “CISMED”)
  • Campbell MacLeod and Lasse Kaalby Møller (Twinning “CCEResearchInfrastructure”)
  • Júlia Altarriba and Dr. Rosana Magalhães (Twinning “AI4MultimorbidityConditions”)

DHE has been supporting healthcare providers and the wider digital health and care ecosystem in scaling up best practices through collaboration and partnership building. Learn about the different support services DHE offers, as well as some of the successes achieved thanks to DHE’s twinnings – small knowledge exchange projects which have resulted in adoption of innovation solutions across Europe.

11:00 – 11:15 CEST – Coffee Break

  • Donna Henderson (European Health Telematics Association)
  • Dr. Maddalena Illario (European Reference Site Collaborative Network)
  • Dr. Niamh Lennox-Chhugani (International Foundation for Integrated Care)
  • Dr. Gian Matteo Apuzzo (Central European Initiative)

Building on the learnings and the outcomes of the previous session, speakers will take stock of horizontal and vertical challenges of scaling-up in a sustainable way. As a response, those skills and capacities will be elaborated on which can help to solve and overcome these challenges. DHE has developed a capacity building framework that can support a wide range of digital health stakeholders to build their capacities in a hands-on manner. Discussion between DHE consortium partner networks will be triggered on how they deal with cross-border skills development, particularly in Central Europe.

11:55 – 12:00 CEST – 4: Day 1 Closing

  • Dr. Veli Stroetmann (empirica)

Moderator: Dr. José Martinez Usero (FUNKA)

Wednesday, 29 Sept., 14:00 - 16:30:
Empowering citizens through health data

14:00 – 14:40 CEST – 1: Patient-centred health and care

  • Diane Whitehouse (European Health Telematics Association)
  • Nicola Bedlington (European Patients’ Forum)
  • Lyudmil Ninov (European Patients’ Forum)
  • Ivett Jakab (European Patients’ Forum Youth Group)
  • David Magboulé (LabToMarket)

Digitalisation is undoubtedly changing health and care today. Digital health can be fundamental to enhance integration between health and social care and to better manage healthcare systems and services. The road to a full uptake of digital, however, is still very fragmented. If it is true that the COVID-19 crisis has greatly accelerated this process, it has also put under the spotlight once again how access to digital health is very much unequal, organised in different ways across Europe. Furthermore, digital health is not yet fully enabling nor based on collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals nor on co-design.


Thousands of Europeans have begun to share health data purposefully in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate around citizen-controlled health data sharing especially regarding adequate governance models has, however, been ongoing for much longer. This session explores citizens-centred data sharing. It starts with a COVID-19 use case, and complements it with the results from a large-scale survey on citizens’ attitude towards health data sharing. Finally, we will consider citizens’ and patients’ perspectives on the topic.

15:10 – 15:20 CEST – Coffee break

15:20 – 15:50 CEST – 3: Accelerating health data connectivity

  • Dr. Henrique Martins (DigitalHealthEurope)
  • Dr. Rainer Thiel (empirica)
  • Dr. Dipak Kalra (European Institute for Innovation through Health Data / European Institute for Health Records)
  • Sara Riggare (Uppsala University)
Lack of health data connectivity is still a problem across the EU. Heterogenous levels of connectiveness between health organisations and between health organisations and citizens/patients in Member States is still prevalent. Citizens are key actors to accelerate health data connectivity under two conditions. First, if tools are available to empower them and second, if the right climate of health data activism is created in society which can nurture citizens’ demand for health data interoperability.

15:50 – 16:20 CEST – 4: Data-driven health and care: Is the future federated?

  • Dr. Oliver Zobell (Research Centre Jülich)
  • Prof. Dr. Jan Baumbach (University of Hamburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Oya Beyan (University of Cologne)
  • Prof. Dr. André Dekker (Maastricht University)

In this session, experts will discuss solutions for on-demand access to federated datasets and to cloud computing resources, and how these have the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of health and care.


Thursday, 30 Sept., 14:00 - 16:30: Scaling up innovation through health data

14:00 – 14:20 CEST – 1: Keynote speech

  • Update on European Health Data Space – Ioana-Maria Gligor (DG SANTE)

14:20 – 15:15 CEST – 2: Better data to promote research, disease prevention and personalised health and care

  • Dr. Dipak Kalra (European Institute for Innovation through Health Data / European Institute for Health Records)
  • Birgit Bauer (Digital Health & Social Media Entrepreneur)
  • Dr. Emmanuel Bacry (Health Data Hub)
  • Tomaz Gornik (Better)
  • Jesper Kjær (Danish Medicines Agency)
  • Prof. Dr. Denis Horgan (European Alliance for Personalised Medicine)

This session will present the drivers, approaches and success factors for scaling up the availability and uses of health data to accelerate research and the delivery of personalised medicine. The DHE findings from several multi-stakeholder consultations and the assessment of several digital health and eResearch programmes will be summarised. Europe’s scalability and acceptability challenges will be presented and discussed by a panel of experts.

15:15 – 15:25 CEST – Coffee break

15:25 – 16:10 CEST – 3:  Ensuring innovation through health data – where to next?

  • Dr. Zoi Kolitsi (DHE)
  • Prof. Dr. Paul Timmers (European University Cyprus / Oxford University)
  • Nick Schneider (German Federal Ministry of Health)
  • Steven Vermeulen (EBRAINS)
  • Dr. Ilias Iakovidis (DG CNECT)
  • Dr. Tapani Piha (SITRA)

Since the first EC communication on the EDS, much has come into shape and more is to yet be defined for the health specific EHDS. The DHE Recommendations reflect a high degree of congruence on the important issues and challenges, albeit some discrepancies across the multiple stakeholder communities.  What is next? This session aims to peek into what might lie ahead through the lens of several perspectives, brought in by thought- leaders across a broad array of priority challenges.

16:10 – 16:30 CEST – 4: What’s next for Digital Health in Europe

  • Marco Marsella (DG CNECT)
  • Dr. Veli Stroetmann (empirica)

Moderator:  Dr. Petra Wilson


Esko Aho
Chairman of the Board, Former Prime Minister
Cinia Oy / Adven Group
Esko Aho is Chairman of the Board of Cinia Oy and Adven Group and on the Supervisory Board of Sberbank.
Ioana-Maria Gligor
Head of Unit
Digital Health and European Reference Networks, DG SANTE
Ioana Gligor is Head of Unit in DG SANTE, responsible for Digital Health and European Reference Networks.
Marco Marsella
Head of Unit “eHealth, Well-being, and Ageing”
Marco Marsella is Head of the “eHealth, Well-being, and Ageing” Unit in the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.
Dr. ir. Birgit Morlion
Programme and Policy Officer
European Commission DG CNECT
Dr. ir. Birgit Morlion works on the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market.
Dr. Ilias Iakovidis
Adviser on Green Digital Transformation
Ilias Iakovidis, PhD, is an Adviser on Green Digital Transformation at the European Commission, DG CONNECT.
Dr. Tapani Piha
Senior Adviser
Tapani Piha has worked at the Ministry of Health and of Foreign Affairs in Finland as well as at the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Prof. Dr. Paul Timmers
Research Associate, University of Oxford / Oxford Internet Institute
European University Cyprus
Prof. Dr. Paul Timmers is research associate at the University of Oxford (Oxford Internet Institute) and professor at European University Cyprus.
PicVeli Stroetmann
Dr. Veli Stroetmann
Head of Digital Health Research and Policy & Director
Dr. Veli Stroetmann is Director of empirica Communication and Technology Research and coordinator of DigitalHealthEurope.
Júlia Altarriba
Júlia Altarriba is the COO of HumanITcare and she is responsible for leading multiple projects.
Dr. Gian Matteo Apuzzo
Project Manager
Central European Initiative
Dr. Gian Matteo Apuzzo is an urban sociologist and EU policies expert, with a PhD in Social Sciences on urban exclusion and social foresight.
Dr. Emmanuel Bacry
Scientific Director
Health Data Hub
Emmanuel Bacry currently serves as the Scientific Director of the French Health Data Hub.
Birgit Bauer
Patient Expert, Digital Health & Social Media Entrepreneur
Manufaktur für Antworten
Prof. Dr. Jan Baumbach
Chair of Computational Systems Biology
University of Hamburg
Since January 2021, Jan Baumbach is the chair of Computational Systems Biology (Cosy.Bio) at the University of Hamburg.
Nicola Bedlington
Special Advisor
European Patients’ Forum
Nicola Bedlington is the special advisor to the European Patients’ Forum, and was its first Executive Director and Secretary from 2006 to 2019.
Prof. Dr. Oya Beyan
Full Professor, Institute for Medical Informatics
University of Cologne
Prof. Dr. Oya Beyan is the director of the Medical Informatics Institute at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne.
Helena Biancuzzi
Independent Researcher
Ipazia Observatory on Gender Research / OncologyInMotion Twinning
Strahil Birov
Research Consultant
Strahil Birov is the project manager of DigitalHealthEurope (DHE), with a special focus on facilitating the DHE twinning activities.
Benjamin Cid-Bourié
International Affairs Directorate
General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain
Benjamin Cid-Bourié is pharmacist in the International Affairs Directorate of the General Pharmaceutical Council of Spain.
Carina Dantas
International Projects Manager
Carina Dantas is CEO of SHINE 2Europe, Senior Project Manager for ECHAlliance.
Prof. Dr. Andre Dekker
Full Professor “Clinical Data Science”
Maastricht University, Maastricht UMC+, Maastro Clinic
Andre Dekker, PhD (1974) is a medical physicist and professor of Clinical Data Science at Maastricht UMC+ and Maastro Clinic in The Netherlands.
Nilsy Desaint
Director Public Policy Europe
Nilsy Desaint joined the global biopharmaceutical company MSD in early 2015 as Associate Director, Public Policy in Belgium.
Tomaz Gornik
Founder and CEO / Co-chair
Better / openEHR International
Tomaz has a proven track record of delivering innovative turn-key solutions for large clients in telecommunications, finance and healthcare.
Donna Henderson
In January 2021, Donna was appointed as President of the European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL). 
Prof. Dr. Denis Horgan
Executive Director
European Alliance for Personalised Medicine
Prof. Denis Horgan was a policy advisor in the European Parliament and worked with various international NGOs on health development projects.
Dr. Maddalena Illario
European Reference Site Collaborative Network
MD, PhD, Maddalena Illario is endocrinologist, Associate Professor at Federico II Department of Public Health.
Ivett Jakab
European Patients’ Forum Youth Group
Ivett Jakab is a patient advocate and health economics researcher currently serving as the President of the European Patients’ Forum Youth Group.
Lasse Kaalby Møller
Grant Writer, Ph.D. Student
Odense Universitetshospital og Svendborg Sygehus, CCEResearchInfrastructure Twinning
Lasse Kaalby Møller is employed as both Ph.D. student and Grant Writer at the Department of Surgery at Odense University Hospital.
Prof. Dr. Dipak Kalra
i~HD / Eurorec
Professor Dipak Kalra is President of the European Institute for Innovation through Health Data.
Jesper Kjær
Director Data Analytics Centre
Danish Medicines Agency
Having worked in the academic environment and pharmaceutical industry, Jesper Kjær has 20+ years experience in his field.
Dr. Zoi Kolitsi
Digital Health Strategist
seasoned digital health expert with 20y+ history of eHealth policy support including a decade in the Greek Public Health Administration.
Mark Lawler_Day_2
Prof. Mark Lawler
Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Digital Health
Queen’s University Belfast / European Cancer Organisation
Mark is an internationally renowned scientist whose work has been recognised by numerous national and international awards.
Dr. Niamh Lennox-Chhugani
Chief Executive
International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)
Dr. Niamh Lennox has 30 years of experience in evidence-based transformation in healthcare internationally as a clinician, academic and consultant.
Campbell MacLeod
Surgical Research Fellow
NHS Highland
Campbell MacLeod is surgical trainee based in the North of Scotland.
David Magboulé
Late 2017, David founded LabToMarket to help startups and researchers across Europe launch their products in the market.
Dr. Rosana Magalhães
Clinical Research Assistant, Medical Writer, Rater/Psychologist in Clinical Studies
2CA-Braga (Clinical Academic Center – Braga)
Rosana Magalhães is a rater (clinical psychologist) in pharmaceutical industry clinical trials at Centro Clínico Académico in Braga.
Dr. José Martinez-Usero
European Projects
José Usero has extensive experience as project coordinator of European projects and several major European studies.
Dr. Henrique Martins
Associate Professor in Health Management, Leadership and Digital Health
University Beira Interior / University Institute of Lisbon
Henrique Martins is Associate Professor in Health Management, Leadership and Digital Health at University Beira Interior and ISCTE.
Lyudmil Ninov
Senior Programme Officer
European Patients’ Forum
Lyudmil Ninov joined the EPF team in April 2017 and currently has the role of Senior Programme Officer.
Sara Riggare
Patient Researcher
Uppsala University
Sara Riggare (MSc, PhD cand) is a patient leader and patient researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden
Nick Schneider
Head of Division – New technologies and data use
German Federal Ministry of Health
Nick Schneider leads the division on new technologies and data use at the German Federal Ministry of Health.
Gözde Susuzlu Briggs
Project Coordinator
Data Saves Lives / European Patients’
Gözde is project coordinator for #datasaveslives initiative and digital health and health data related Horizon and IMI projects at EPF.
Jon Switters
European Project Manager
Since joining FUNKA, Jon Switters has specialised in European research and innovation projects in the field of digital health and accessibility.
Mathieu Thébaud
For the past three years, Mathieu Thébaud has been the Kerpape REHAB-LAB manager.
Dr. Rainer Thiel
Head of ICT Innovation in Health & Director
Dr. Rainer Thiel is Head of ICT Innovation in Health and Director of empirica.
Danny van Roijen
Digital Health Director
Danny Van Roijen is Digital Health Director at COCIR, the leading industry voice in Europe on digital health.
Steven Vermeulen
Chief Information & Infrastructure Officer
Steven is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience in different sectors, including healthcare and telecoms.
Diane Whitehouse
Principal eHealth Policy Consultant
As EHTEL’s Principal eHealth Policy Consultant, Diane Whitehouse is involved in digitally health-related projects.
Dr. Petra Wilson
Health Connect Partners
Petra Wilson is co-founder and managing director of Health Connect Partners, a boutique consultancy on health policy.
Dr. Oscar Zanutto
Senior Project Manager
Dr. Oscar Zanutto (1972) is a psychologist of work and organizations. He has been working in ISRAA since 2000, nowadays coordinating FABER.
Mitarbeiterportrait für Internet Auftritt PtJ-LGF, Herr Zobell
Dr. Oliver Zobell
Programme Manager
Project Management Jülich
Since 2019, Oliver is partaking in EU project DigitalHealthEurope, focusing mainly on re-using health data for research.

Organisation Team

Schulz, Carola
Carola Schulz
Research Consultant
Paul, Jessica
Jessica Paul
Research Consultant
Tino Marti
eHealth Project Officer
Diane Whitehouse
Principal eHealth Policy Consultant
Chrysoula Mitta
Associate Director
The Lisbon Council
Charlotte Fabricius
Research Consultant
Alexander Cuartas-Acosta
European Projects Assistant
Daniel Schmidtmann
Research Consultant
Ingrid Weindorfer
European Projects Assistant
Anna Oleneva
European Projects Assistant
Francisca Leite
European Projects Assistant
PicVeli Stroetmann
Dr. Veli Stroetmann
Strahil Birov
Research Consultant


The 12 sessions over the 3 days of the DHE Summit provided a platform for very rich expert discussions around on-the-ground digital transformation experiences, health data sharing governance models, federated systems, citizen empowerment, European Data Spaces and many other topics.

Find out what happened each day in a nutshell:

Day 1

On Day 1 speakers reflected on what fundamental conditions are necessary for digital health and care to flourish. DHE twinning representatives reported on their success stories, how they managed to adopt innovative solutions, fostered co-creation, co-design with patients and overcame standardised data collection challenges across Europe. DHE partner networks took stock of horizontal and vertical challenges of scaling-up, knowledge sharing and capacity building in a sustainable way, as well as the skills and capacities necessary to overcome the challenges incurred.

Read Day 1 summary

Day 2

On Day 2 panellists discussed about patient-centred and data-driven health and care. Useful hints, ideas and advice were shared on how to empower and engage with citizens. Participants got an insight into citizen’s willingness to share their health data. We heard about data activism movement and how to foster it. Finally, arguments were presented why and how federated datasets can contribute to more accurate AI algorithms and machine learning.

Read Day 2 summary

Day 3

Day 3’s principal scope was debates around the European Health Data Space (EHDS). The audience received an update on the status of the EHDS from the European Commission, furthermore a future outlook concerning EU and Member States’ collaboration in the field of health and how Europe can leverage the experience from the COVID crisis.

Read Day 3 summary