The Digital Health Society ( DHS) is a movement and a legacy of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017. It works with interested EU Presidencies and multi stakeholders to promote digital health policies, services and products and focuses on health data and data management. It has worked on a range of important areas including interoperability, data donation, legal frameworks and digital workforce transformation. Through its annual DHS Summit it has promoted ” Connecting Digital Health & Data Initiatives in Europe” and ” Acceptance criteria and technical prerequisites for societal trust in the use of health data and the most innovative citizen controlled data sharing governance models”.
In 2020 it organised with the European Institute for Innovation through Health Data two Round Tables with invited experts to explore in depth issues surrounding health data and the creation of the European Health Data Space. The papers from these Round Tables will be published in February 2021. DHS is a Knowledge Partner in All Policies for a Healthy Europe and Bleddyn Rees is the Chair of the Digital Working Group www.healthyeurope.eu.
DHS is also a founding member of the EU Health Coalition www.euhealthcoalition.eu.
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The DHS is empowered by the European Connected Health Alliance and it’s Global Connector work.
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European Health Data Space
The ambitious plan put forward by EC to build an EHDS has opened a lively debate on multiple and connected aspects, mainly around the most appropriate data governance frameworks, data sharing technologies, as well as the rise of novel models and institutions through the constitution of public data hubs, cooperative and trusts.
Data-driven health information
Covid-19 has highlighted the vital urgency of strengthening existing surveillance systems for infectious diseases, developing early warning systems based on the most innovative techniques and AI-based technologies.
Whole-of-sector and whole-of-government vision
The complexity of challenges humans have ahead (such as climate change, growing inequalities and public health treaths) advocates for a holistic vision. Greater collaboration and coordination across departmental and sectorial boundaries is crucial to eliminate duplication, optimize resources, create synergies among agencies, and deliver seamless services to the citizens and businesses.
Ref: Economy of Wellbeing (Finland Presidency), HealthInAllPolicies / OneHealth (WHO)
Digital and health literacy
Digital health rapidly develop across Europe and beyond and brings undoubted opportunities. However, there is also a danger that such process, if not accompanied by adequate investments in widespread and life-course digital and health literacy programmes, can exacerbate inequalities.
Innovation readiness of the health and care workforce
Every day, health professionals, researchers, and patients produce vast amounts of data through the use of, for example, EHRs, mHealth apps, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. Data and technologies bring forward a wealth of opportunities that are making significant changes in the provision of healthcare services. However, in order to take advantage of these opportunities, the health workers must trust the solutions, be engaged in their design and equipped with innovation-oriented mindsets and digital skills.
Understanding the public’s fears about misuse of health data are critical to building trust. Demonstrating the benefits to society form data access, use and re-use are essential success factors.
Harnessing the potential of data requires collective and continuous learning. Powerful insights may come from implementation stories and lessons learnt.
Through its events, workshops, seminars and publications, DHS contributes to knowledge sharing and good practices’ spread.
Health data governance, sharing and use pose critical challenges that must be handled in open minded, cross-disciplinary and constructive debates.
How can we help the European institutions achieve the EHDS goal? How can industry be pivotal in accelerating the process? How can we build citizens’ trust?