Scaling up innovation through health data: the DHE Summit Day 3 in a nutshell

The Digital Health Europe Summit 2021 came to a successful and positive close last Thursday.  The three-day Summit attracted over 400 attendees overall.

The focus of the Summit’s final day was on scaling up innovation through health data. The keynote speaker Ioana-Maria Gligor, Head of Unit at DG SANTE,  gave the audience an update on the status of the European Health Data Space. She mentioned the current challenges of primary and secondary health data sharing (EHDS 1 & 2) and the way towards a legislative proposal in early 2022.

This keynote speech enabled a lively panel discussion on the improvement of data in Europe for promoting research, preventing disease and personalising health and careDr. Dipak Kalra (i~HD/EuroRec) welcomed five panellists – Birgit Bauer (Patient Expert  & Digital Health Entrepreneur); Dr. Emmanuel Bacry (Health Data Hub); Tomaz Gornik(Better); Jesper Kjær (Danish Medicines Agency); and Prof. Dr. Denis Horgan (European Alliance for Personalised Medicine) – who offered their views on the most urgent challenges in health data. Pressure points mentioned ranged from digital skills of patients and health professionals to governance and valorisation models to a “data first” approach.

Addressing the future of innovation through health data – Dr. Zoi Kolitsi of DigitalHealthEurope led a discussion among a knowledgeable panel of people active on what the future of health data can offer. The five panellists – Prof. Dr. Paul Timmers(European University Cyprus / Oxford University), Nick Schneider (German Federal Ministry of Health), Steven Vermeulen (EBRAINS), Dr. Ilias Iakovidis (DG CNECT), and Dr. Tapani Piha (SITRA) each offered visions on how health data can be used to begin and build on exciting, new innovations. Perspectives included tackling Europe’s sovereignty, tying in with health infrastructures and actions of local governments, bringing computation closer to the data and considering the links to areas beyond health.

Last but certainly not least, Marco Marsella, Head of Unit at DG CNECT, was interviewed by Dr. Petra Wilson (empirica) on Europe’s ambitions for what’s likely to happen next for digital health. The Head of Unit mentioned taking advantage of the lessons learnt during COVID, such as furthering the collaboration with other DGs and aiming for a more harmonised approach between Member States and the EU.