“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”
If there is a sentence that could even begin to define eHealth 360° Summit 2016, it would be that one. A lot has changed since the Ancient times and technology permeates our daily lives every step of the way. Nevertheless, the core of health care has remained the same, with or without the “e”. Patients and their needs take the center stage no matter how we choose to approach them.
eHealth 360° Summit 2016 took place on June 14-16 in the wonderful city of Budapest, Hungary. With almost 200 researchers, medical doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and government representatives across six co-located technical conferences and a central Summit track, it was a three-day storm of big ideas, brilliant speakers, and friendly chatter.
“People want care, not just a pill.”
We could not count the number of times it was emphasized that as much as technology and data can improve health and save lives, it is not, and should never become, the central driver of innovation in eHealth and mHealth. High-end tech can be attractive and fun, but at the end of the day, it is superfluous if it does not fulfill the purpose of helping people. A deep look into the real needs of patients and doctors alike is not just good will, it is also good business. And no matter how much we try and how much we think we succeed, technology will always take the back seat in favor of care.
Robert Istepanian made it very clear in his keynote – there is a severe lack of clinical grade evidence behind most mHealth apps and frugal design in coordination with large scale deployment strategy is the path to success, and more importantly – helpful service. Miklós Szócska demonstrated this approach later that day almost as if the two had planned it. As the former Minister of State for Health in Hungary, he has directed a nation-wide big data initiative that saved lives, public money in the time of economic crisis, and uncovered illegal activity in hospital management. Nothing proves a point better than a practical example, and this was just one of many that we had the pleasure of hearing at the Summit. Technology as nothing more than a powerful tool in the hands of those who will not stop looking for ways to help.
The Summit speaker list included such distinguished names as Robert Istepanian (Visiting Professor and Academic Imperial College, London, UK), Miklós Szócska (Director of the Health Services Management Training Centre, Former Minister of State for Health, Hungary), Terje Peetso (The Unit Health and Wellbeing in DG Communications Networks), Charles Lowe (Managing Director, Digital Health And Care Alliance (DHACA), President, Telemedicine and eHealth Council, Royal Society of Medicine), Frank Lievens (Managing Director; Board member, Secretary and Treasurer of the ISfTeH), Kostas Giokas (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Frank Hopfgartner (University of Glasgow, UK), and many others.
Huge thank you to all participants, speakers and partners, and we cannot wait to see you again in 2017!