How could we shape the future of healthcare in an ecosystem increasingly defined by interoperable data, open yet secure platforms and consumer-driven care?
To answer this burning question, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lecturer Arne Hessenbruch welcomed to the ICT Spring Healthcare Summit experts from renowned institutions and leading industry players, such as Hôpitaux Robert Schuman, Luxinnovation, Telkea and Agence eSanté.
Towards a European Health Data Space
Healthcare professionals generate and use large amounts of healthcare data that are essential for diagnosis and treatment. If Covid-19 has shown that up-to-date healthcare data is key to inform public authorities and rapidly face health crisis, further efforts are needed to reach the full potential of healthcare data - such as the EU4Health programme and the European Health Data Space (EHDS).
Whereas the EU4Health programme aims at building stronger, more resilient and more accessible health systems across the EU - therefore complementing national policies - the EHDS is more specific to healthcare data use. It actually establishes clear rules, common practices, infrastructures and a governance framework.
As explained by Strategic Advisor for EU Cross-Border eHealth Services Licino Kustra Mano, this brand new space will enable healthcare professionals to easily access and share data within a trusted and secure framework - fully in line with EU data protection policy. Not to mention the impact on competition and the development of new medical devices and services.
Undoubtedly the perfect timing to dive into EU healthcare digital transformation, alongside healthcare agencies representatives from France, Portugal and Luxembourg, at a roundtable moderated by Agence e-Santé Head of the Administration & Communications department Daisy Smet. All agreed on the importance of connecting all the stakeholders - hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, etc. - to foster engagement and innovation, especially in a cross-border context.
Focusing on GAIA-X - what can we expect from such a platform in Luxembourg?
One of the first issues that comes to mind when talking about data is sovereignty - especially in the EU. France and Germany first got into the race in June 2020 with the GAIA-X project. Back then, both announced their willingness to create a reliable, sovereign and open European data infrastructure that would enable public administrations, companies, healthcare professionals and research institutes to access and exchange data, and, as a result, foster innovation.
If Europe has missed the boat of digitalization - leaving the lion’s share to GAFAMs - it shouldn’t miss the artificial intelligence one, directly linked to the explosive growth of data generated nowadays.
Luxembourg was one of the first EU Member States to believe in this new cloud vision before officially embracing it in March 2021 and launching its GAIA-X regional hub (coordinated by Luxinnovation) and for good reason. Ideally located in the heart of Europe and hosting many of the world's most qualitative and resilient data centers, Luxembourg has a great card to play.
Luxinnovation GIE National GAIA-X Coordinator and Special Advisor Ralf Hustadt reminded the relevance of such a project in a cross-border context: “Patients coming across the border are basically a blank page to doctors here in Luxembourg. With this new platform, they will have access to patients’ medical history, speeding up diagnosis and treatment [...] Time is life” - a new saying Hôpitaux Robert Schuman CISO Jacques Federspiel could not agree more.
But although data collection and use are key to building a stronger and more resilient healthcare system, according to NTT Digital Transformation Director Michael Mossal, we need a regulated platform to go even further - and that’s exactly where GAIA-X comes into the picture. “Data management and artificial intelligence in healthcare will enable us to support doctors’ decision-making”.
But much before getting to the hospital or a retirement home for the elderly, how could we make home living as long as possible?
Telecare powered by cloud technology
With an increasing senior population, telecare has become a burning issue worldwide. So, what can we do to improve patients’ care, contact and planning?
According to Telkea CTO Olivier Penin, both technology and telecare providers have a role to play. While the first provides connected devices (such as alarm & speech buttons, sensors and watches) and a 24/7 handling, the second may take over according to the emergency degree.
Although telecare is undoubtedly a booming market for Olivier - with more than 75,000 telecare patients expected in 2023/2024 - industry players should pay attention to home connectivity & installed base, key management and cybersecurity, through a secure and reliable cloud architecture.
Leaving room for improvement
Next on stage, ViewMind COO Matias Schulz, Kirchberg Hospital Resuscitation Nurse and Grand-Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps Health Officer Frédéric Leybold, MintT CRO Nicolas Fautré and Champalimaud Foundation Post-Doctoral Researcher Karri Chiranjeevi for a roundtable on the upcoming challenges in healthcare, moderated by R3i Capital General Partner Leesa Soulodre.
Nicolas first insisted on the importance of data protection - besides the current EU GDPR framework - especially when expanding your business abroad. There are indeed many ways of understanding and implementing a policy. “So, we need to make sure everyone is on the same page and share the same vision. Partners may be of great help”.
They also all agreed on the looming healthcare talent crisis, especially with the shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials, which had a significant impact on ambitions and expectations. Since organizations are no longer able to rely on external hiring alone, some are trying to foster internal mobility - mainly to interns, as explained by Matias.
But what if technology was a good way to go? It would make talent recruitment process more efficient, significantly reduce related-costs, and as a result deliver an optimal experience for employees, patients and stakeholders.
A unique and vibrant moment of sharing - followed by inspiring startup and global innovation platform pitches (Voithy, Plug and Play) - that will undoubtedly contribute to the healthcare evolution.