The future of healthcare is systematic digitization and unification of data (Guest blog)

For the 10th year in a row, Forum of International Research and Development Pharmaceutical Companies, EIG (Forum) organized a strategic conference The Value of Innovation, where distinguished experts sought answers to pressing questions and offered insight into innovations in pharmacy and healthcare. This year, the conference addressed the field of digitalization and usage of data. Progress in these areas means more comprehensive patient care, and in the long run it brings savings to the health system and significantly contributes to its resilience and ability to respond to crisis situations.
Nathalie Moll, Director General of EFPIA,  was one of the speakers at the conference. She sees digitalization as the backbone of modern treatment. According to her, the healthcare industry in Europe is worth 140 billion euros and employs 760,000 people. Most of them, about 95 percent, work in small and medium-sized enterprises related to the health sector. Mrs. Moll believes that digital health solutions and data will shape the development of life sciences as well as healthcare.
Michael Strübin, Director of Digital Health at Medtech Europe also emphasized that health technology is evolving fast and that it is increasingly being influenced by AI. According to him, AI and medical technologies can save 40,000 lives a year, which represents 200 billion euros in savings annually, or 12 % of all health expenditure in the EU. Prof. Dipak Kalra, PhD, President at The European Institute for Innovation through Health Data emphasised, that the pandemic reminded us of the importance of studying diseases in a wider area and not just at the level of an individual country. He believes, that states need to link health data, provide for so-called federal architecture, and undertake mass data analysis. This is what all speakers agreed on -  Europe should strive for digitalization and a commonn, European health database. Minna Hendolin, PhD, Leading Specialist in Sitra’s Health Data 2030 project, introduced the Finnish model for health care strategies. In the strategy they emphasized the importance of using data for secondary purposes for research, development, innovation and policy-making. Hendolin also described the national KANTA service, which is a repository of patient data, social and health data, prescription data and a bank of database. The data can be accessed by healthcare professionals and medical records and prescriptions are kept there. Citizens also have access. In addition, it is also a service platform, which is an important part of the healthcare infrastructure in Finland.

Slovenian decision-makers from Ministry of Health, National Institute for Public Health and Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia agreed that Slovenia is investing too little in the digitalisation of healthcare and the common database. Bogdan Tušar, Acting Director General of the Directorate for Health System Development at the Ministry of Health emphasised that only one percent of all funds intended for health care, goes for digitalization. Abroad, this percentage is four times higher. Slovenia is working on this and is already collecting many data and organizing them into useful databases. However there is a long way to go. 

Among others speakers were also Christian Theil Lundgaard, MSc, Head of Global Digital Health partnership at Novo Nordisk and Jean-Louis Koeck, founder of platform.

You can watch the conference here: