Digital Health Superevent: Healthcare in need of radical changes in thinking and approaches
Digital Health Superevent is behind us! We hope we managed to encourage at least a pinch of collaboration and merging of knowledge and competence that exist among stakeholders in healthcare.
As said by John Crawford, who took us through the state of digital health and eHealth in Europe, healthcare systems are in need of radical changes. They were designed in times of epidemics but today the main societal issues are ageing population and chronic diseases. This requires a different approach to healthcare.
A lot of solutions for the ageing population are focused on prolonging independent and healthy life. Prof. Dr. Zvezdan Pirtošek, Head of the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic Ljubljana emphasized there are a lot of opportunities in telerehabilitation. There should also be more transferability among solution for chronic disease management. Diseases differ, but management needs are to some extent overlapping. There should also be a bigger emphasis on adherence of doctors at using digital solutions, which is highly underestimated at the moment. But as mentioned by prof. dr. Matija Tomšič, Head of the Department of Rheumatology at the University Medical Center Ljubljana, who helped design an app for rheuma assessment, it is very helpful if doctors communicate with programmers and developers. Sometimes doctors have a well defined problem and engineers or IT specialist have an idea about a solution.
Technology is not only transforming the way we are treated, but also the way we behave and run our lifestyle, was presented by Pascal Lardier. 41% of people that self diagnose have their hypothesis confirmed by doctors. 43% of doctors use digital health solutions, 57% don’t do to their bad design or concern about privacy issues of the patients. It is also true that at the moment data management is still developing. But with the development of handling of big data data driven decisions will be easier.
Prof. dr. Tadej Battelino, Head of the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology/Diabetology and Metabolism at the University Children's Hospital in Ljubljana emphasized in his lecture about diabetes treatment, that one device doesn't fit all diabetics, which is crucial for developers to know. A big challenge in chronic disease management is patient compliance. For it to happen, we need to understand more about psychology of patients. Technology can help, but psychology is key to success.
Many doctors say technology and informatization are like a new barrier between them and their patients. Jakob Šušterič from a young start-up company MESI emphasized six needs to be solved are a proper business model for physician education, digitalization of the data, logging patient health data and how to prevent its as automatic as possible and not time consuming, enabling physician-to-physician consultation in order to enable them second opinion as fast as possible. In order for technology to be used, it has to reduce the amount of work and be user friendly. A crucial approach when developing solutions for doctors and healthcare staff is not to ask them what they want, but to spend time with them: observe how they work and identify their need, said a product manager at Marand Anže Droljc.
Reimbursement and payment
When innovation ideas start turning into reality, developers have to solve three issues: prove their product works, doesn’t do harm and how can they make money with it, said Michael Dillhyon from Vital Connect Europe. Payment of digital solutions is one of the bigger issues in public healthcare systems. Healthcare systems are in need of radical changes in payment models. Due to increasing precision in diagnostics and treatment, payers are starting to assess care and services based on the outcome for the patient. This is the basic thinking behind value based healthcare. It can be achieved with new healthcare delivery models - using smart technology and patient empowerment, mentioned Matic Meglič from Medtronic.
The issue of payment for digital health solutions was also the main topic of the round table at the end of the conference. As presented by the VC dr. Klaus Stöckemann from Peppermint Venture Partners, every solution needs to be adapted to a specific environment and legislation of a specific country. Since there are 27 different systems in Europe, companies, developers and start-ups can’t really expand their solutions quickly to foreign markets. In Germany for example, there are 200 healthcare insurance companies, and in order to achieve reimbursement, contract needs to be negotiated with each company individually.
In a Slovenian setting the system is to rigid when it comes to including new digital solutions in health insurance models, said Aleš Mikeln from the Slovenian complementary health insurance company Vzajemna. As said by Katarina Kralj from Ministry of Health, there isn’t a specific debate on digital health at the Ministry of Health at the moment, because the big debates are currently focused on standards in human resources. However, Marjan Sušelj from the Health Institute of Slovenia ZZZS mentioned, that there are at least some discussion around the topic of digital health at ZZZS. But when talking about inclusion of new solutions in payment models, the main drivers of change will definitely need to be doctors. They are the ones that have the expertise to judge what can be helpful and what not in the flood of new solutions.
Mednarodna konferenca Digitalno zdravje 2015 je za nami. Oglejte si videoposnetke vseh predavanj in galerijo slik dogajanja na Ljubljanskem gradu.
To get a better sense of the atmosphere on the event, take a peek into our photo gallery. Missed a session? No problem, just check the video archive of all the presentations!
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