9th July 2019
AI and digital solutions were in the focus of EHMA annual conference held in Budapest
The 34th edition of EHMA Annual Conference, organised by the European Health Management Association in collaboration with the Semmelweis Medical University in Budapest, and supported by EIT Health, aims to seek answers to healthcare systems’ actual questions and challenges.From 20-22 June, 350 healthcare management experts from more than 30 countries discussed the recent trends in healthcare, big data, the future of healthcare systems, the population’s mental health, patient and public involvement in healthcare-related decisions, integrated care and good governance questions.
Big data is increasingly being used to support enhanced diagnostics, treatment, care, and indicates more than ever the importance of practice-oriented research. Therefore, it is essential to find the best fitting connections between the industry research and development (R&D) by motivating the university researchers to open their results for the industry and in the same time draw the attention of industry actors to university or academia researches with potential business outcomes.
Ursula Mühle, Director of Education at ETH Health, emphasized the importance of cooperation between EIT Health and such organisations as EHMA to help boost the innovation in healthcare systems. EIT Health, as a leading innovation platform in Europe, wants to accelerate products, services and also start-ups, in order to bring them to the market faster. By supporting start-ups and talents, EIT Health has a big focus on training and capacity building, not only for students but healthcare executives as well. EHMA as a network of health managers, can facilitate change in healthcare and influence policy making. Innovation by itself is the product but it needs to be implemented in healthcare systems driven by professionals. For this purpose, it is necessary to empower managers with the relevant skills.
Aside from the above-mentioned topics, the future of our healthcare systems was also the focus of the congress. A new vision for the future of healthcare, driven by the digital agenda and based upon radical notions regarding personalisation, is becoming central to the development of healthcare systems. Despite the increasing role of digitalisation in the foreseen future, hospitals are and will still be at the centre of healthcare systems. Making them more patient centred has been a core objective of healthcare managers and their clinical colleagues. This also entails the understanding of how digital solutions are introduced taking into the level of digital health literacy of both patients and service providers.
Simultaneously with the conference, a healthcare related 27-hour hackathon was organised by DEMOLA Budapest, Semmelweis University Health Services Management Training Centre and Educate under the support of EIT Health. The idea was to bring together cross-functional teams with mentors to find innovative solutions to a common and given challenge in the field of healthcare and technology by using Design Thinking. This year’s challenge was: “How might we improve healthcare in remote and underdeveloped areas in Europe by leveraging technology and digital solutions?” The teams and their mentors, coming from EIT Health InnoStars and international freelancer experts, started their work on the 19 June, and the teams pitched their solutions in front of the jury on the 22 June.
The team named Storked won the EIT Health prize by pitching a digital logistic solution that would help in supplying medicine to regions in Europe which are hard to reach. The EHMA grand prize-winning team, the Awesome team, was working on an application that would help elderly people live a healthier life by completing the activities an application indicated for them.
The three-day conference was full of interesting panels, boosting fruitful discussions and kickstarting a common thinking on how the future healthcare can be more patient-oriented by using the most recent AI and digital solutions.
Ushman Kahn, executive director of EHMA, considered the conference a success in terms of increasing the number of participants, which was twice as much as last year, along with the panels and workshops as well.
“Not one certain method will change the current healthcare system, but small, tailor made solutions will make a visible impact at the end” – said a panelist who believes that this idea was the main drive of this year’s EHMA congress.