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DigitalHealthEurope session at the DHS Summit in Helsinki:

Connecting Digital Health & Data Initiatives in Europe

Helsinki, Finland

11 & 12 December 2019


On 11-12 December 2019, the first Digital Health Society (DHS) Summit took place in Finland, under the patronage of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of Europe, offering an open two-day forum for the many European initiatives and projects on the data-driven transformation of health and social care to converge and build collaboration bridges.

The ECHAlliance organised the event and various DHE partners, namely empirica, European Institute for Health Records (EuroRec), Shared Services of the Portuguese Ministry of Health (SPMS) and European Patients Forum (EPF), contributed to the discussions that took place on both days of the event.

The event attracted organisations from over 16 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Attendees included startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises, national and international companies as well as policy makers, academics, and a variety of health associations and non-governmental organisations.

Early in 2020, a full summary will be published with the Summit conclusions. It will inform and influence the “European Digital Health Space” discussions taking place in the new European Commission, with the aim to foster a broad agreement about the most urgent priorities to be tackled in order to maximise the impact of digital transformation of health and social care systems across the EU in the next years.

Health and data and policy initiatives under the spotlight

The first day focused on the health and wellbeing data for service improvement and research & innovation (R&I), and was thus the perfect environment for fruitful discussions related to the DigitalHealthEurope (DHE) project.

Veli-Mikko Niemi, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health - Finland


After the welcome, there were three very detailed panels on health data held.

The first looked at the use of real-world evidence and data and the emergence of “Digital Health Learning Ecosystems”.

The second panel was dedicated to better understanding of how to capture and respect citizens’ preferences for data governance, and an examination of the results of the EURORDIS Rare Barometer patient survey.

The third panel showcased health data and policy initiatives from around Europe including Data Saves Lives, Digital Health Europe, the EU Health Coalition, EUREGHA, IMI, and the Digital Health Society and discussed how these initiatives might be able to collaborate more closely.


PANEL: Why are we not making better use of real-world data for learning?

Panel discussants debate making better use of real-world data for learning


PANEL: How do we capture and respect citizens’ preferences on data governance? Challenges and opportunities in building trust

Valentina Tageo, ECHAlliance, discusses stakeholder involvement in DHE work about
data governance and sharing models


Panel discussion on the challenges in building trust with citizens


PANEL: Health Data & Policy Initiatives across Europe: Who, What, Why & When?

Veli Stroetmann, DHE describes the work of DigitalHealthEurope


Digital transformation and ecosystems

The second day featured showcases of digital transformation, gatherings of ECHAlliance Ecosystems, and the launch of four new Finnish Ecosystems.

The second day kicked off with a session led by a clinical member of the Greek national e-Health board of the Ministry of Health detailing how, as far as Digital Health is concerned, Greece is back to play an important role in the eHealth sector in Europe, following a number of years of political uncertainty. 

There was a panel held by Digital Health Society Task Force 4 on success stories in digital transformation with some excellent examples of solutions that are ready to be deployed across the ECHAlliance network, with input from our members – EY, Orcha, Better, VTT, Ministry of Social Affairs Estonia, Sensotrend and CareChain.

Last of all, there was a session with VTT, General Electric and IBM showcasing other relevant experiences from Health Clusters and Ecosystems they are engaged in. This was followed by the formal launch and signing ceremony with the ECHAlliance Finnish Network of Ecosystems.

Signing Ceremony of the ECHAlliance Finnish Network of Ecosystems