Seeing eye to eye – Enabling the digital transformation of cancer care in Europe
This morning at EHFG we are talking about enabling the digital transformation of cancer care in Europe. In this session we are exploring current opportunities and disruptive technology to inform policy solutions to transform cancer care across the European Union. The possibilities seem endless. We cannot blame technology anymore for not providing the hardware/software. Access to personal data, a health record that is fully accessible to the patient, an app that connects the patient directly with his doctor, it is all readily available. So why is it we are underusing all these opportunities? After all, just using what is out there can save 125.000 lives per year on digestives cancers alone.
To be frank, many European healthcare providers are rather illiterate when it comes to digitalization and the use of their data. I am not saying we don’t know how to work a CT scan and make a solid diagnosis from this data. But benchmarking this data real-time and, with this, creating added value for the patient and the healthcare provider is far beyond the technological knowledge and capabilities of most healthcare providers today.
Tech firms and start-ups are on the other end of the spectrum. They have solutions and they are beautiful. They can fully integrate with our Electronic healthcare records and offer patients and healthcare providers alike this added value. But there are serious costs to these solutions. We need to talk about the financial burden of the digital transformation of healthcare in Europe. In Dutch hospitals, for example, not just the solution itself, but the integration of that solution requires percentages of revenue from healthcare providers. It is fragmented as solutions are only relevant for one diagnosis group or even one specific indicator of that group, and costs are increasing fast. Europe needs investment power to create this space in which we can integrate resources of data (patients and healthcare providers) with smart disruptive technology (lead by the tech firms and start-ups). We need a common space in which public and private partners alike can see eye to eye despite their radical differences in knowledge on the matter.
The Commission has pulled the trigger of the starting pistol with their communication on Digital transformation of health and care in Europe for greater sustainability. Moving forward, the member states and the Commission will have to be diligent within the landscape of digitization in healthcare. When structuring frameworks and policies including financial injections into the system, policy makers will have to assure that the incentives allow healthcare providers a voice, and not a burden, when enabling the digital transformation of healthcare in Europe.
This Blog was written by the Young Gasteiner Véronique Bos