Written by ECHAlliance, co-organiser of the 4YFN Digital Health programme and the Digital Health and Wellness Summit.
Even at the end of 2023, it feels that healthcare is still remedial. We are still talking about “digital health” and “mHealth”, not simply “healthcare enabled by the latest technologies” such as mobile, 5G, satellite, data and AI to name just a few. But we remain optimistic that thanks to the increased uptake and adoption, the digital will become a natural part of healthcare systems.
We recognise six key trends worth highlighting and monitoring in the next 12 months:
1. Access to health data is set for big changes for researchers and companies (whether startups or global businesses). The European Health Data Space is in the final throes of the legislative process and this moves significantly forward the day when access to many Member States’ health data for secondary use such as research and innovation will be possible. Our virtual Digital Health Society Summit on 14-15 November will showcase the examples of Findata and the French Health Data Hub, explaining what is possible today and in the future in terms of health data access including the process, timescale and cost.
2. The last year has seen enormous fast paced development of AI including large language models and generative AI like ChatGPT. Whilst there is always much hype around new technologies and overpromising, AI in healthcare has for some time been used in healthcare, eg. in radiology. Our AI Club will shortly publish a paper on key aspects of the development of AI in healthcare as well as Round Table 7 Report “Creating an environment of trust and responsible AI adoption & use,"
3. Cross border and sector collaborations. For ten years we have championed the need to make more connections, join more dots, break down silos both within healthcare and with other sectors especially pharma, life sciences, telecommunications and technology. Last year 4YFN23 attracted GSK who sent a clear signal that they wanted and needed to collaborate with technology companies to realise the benefits of health and other data sources and analytics. ECHAlliance has seen new members such as GSK, IQVIA and Intersystems driving exactly these sort of collaborations on national and international levels, and across sectors for the benefit of citizens, patients, health systems and economic growth.
4. Women’s Health. In September, we organised the Global Health Connector event at the United Nations Science Summit. One of the highlights was convening a brilliant panel of women from Africa, India and the US to discuss the challenges and solutions to improving women’s health. Many people do not appreciate the extent of discriminations faced by women both in research, at work and health care services. Our Women’s Health Thematic Innovation Ecosystem will be activated next year to promote better healthcare for women globally. Women’s Health will be one of the four key topics of our Digital Health & Wellness Summit in Barcelona on 28 February 2024.
5. Health Ageing. This is an important B2C market and SAGA (the UK financial services company serving the needs of the over 50’s) at the UN Science Summit presented fascinating research about the different attitudes of generations as they age. Up to the age of 75 most adults self-report feeling younger than their actual age but after that age the gap between perceived age and real age narrows and adults become less active and more passive. SAGA explained the future is about “full-span” living a longer, healthier and fulfilled older life. Digital tools and solutions to keep people active, well and fulfilled have a very important role to play especially in the B2C market.
6. Green Health. Not many people know that if healthcare was a country, it would be the 5th biggest polluter (bigger than Japan or Brazil). However, the issue of the environmental impact of the healthcare facilities, services and supply chain is rising from an emerging to trending and for sure it’s here to stay. In 2023, we have convened three multi-stakeholder high level panels on the issue and we recognise the need for guidance, good practices and success stories on the level of countries, regions, hospitals and companies. This is precisely why the topic of sustainable healthcare will come back to the Digital Health & Wellness Summit in 2024 - to raise awareness and to bring together people from all around the world that want to learn from each other and fill the gap that currently exists in intelligence and know-how.
Learn more about the ECHAlliance - The Global Health Connector by visiting our website.
Join us on 28 February 2024 at the Mobile World Congress for the 11th edition of the Digital Health & Wellness Summit.