EPF Congress 2021: the digital transformation of healthcare - Event recap

From 26 to 29 October 2021, EPF held its annual Congress, this time focused on the digital transformation of healthcare. With more than 450 participants from 42 countries, over 50 speakers and 16 interactive sessions, the virtual event showcased the added value of patient partnerships in digital health and care.

Education, co-creation, opportunity but most importantly, TRUST. According to EPF’s President Marco Greco, these are the main takeaways of the EPF Congress 2021 on the digital transformation of healthcare, held virtually from 26 to 29 October 2021. 

During the four days of the event and through sixteen interactive sessions, we explored patient-led innovation in the areas of health data, digital health services, Artificial Intelligence, and cross-border healthcare. More than 450 participants, which included patient advocates, healthcare professionals, health NGOs, and members from industry and national institutions, joined the event, which saw the contribution of more than fifty high-level speakers. 

The Congress co-hosts, Ivett Jakab and Tjasa Zajc lead the discussion on the crucial role that the individual experience of patients and the specialisms of healthcare professionals could play in the overall process of digitalization of healthcare.  

During the first day of the event, we explored the digitalisation of health and care systems in light of COVID-19, highlighting how the experience of Covid-19 could be seen as a wake-up call to put patients at the centre of innovation in the development and use of digital technologies and increase equitable access to the results.  

Day two of the Congress was dedicated to partnerships between patients and healthcare professionals, and access, control and ownership of health data, with four interesting sessions that emphasised the importance of upholding trust, safeguarding patient confidentiality, and protecting patients’ rights. 

Patients as co-designers and co-innovators were under the spotlight during the third day of the Congress, which also focused on medicine innovation through health data and Artificial Intelligence in healthcare. 

During the four sessions of the fourth and final day of the event, we analysed the importance of safer digital health tools and health data literacy, highlighting that an increase in literacy can empower patients and bring improved healthcare services, while we also discussed the potential of the European Health Data Space: We had a chance to reflect on our engagement in EU policies focusing on digital health, while also putting on the table the experiences and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This edition of the EPF Congress proved once again that while ground-breaking progress is being made in data and digital health, it is essential to keep patients’ rights front and centre of the discussion to ensure the digitalization of healthcare is achieved fully and equally. While we thank everyone who participated in the EPF Congress 2021, we are happy to announce that the conversation on digital transformation will continue at our in-person follow-up event from 21-22 April 2022 in Brussels. More details to come but pre-registration is now open at this link. 

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