Involve the end user!

The opening keynote sessions at HIMSS Europe 18 held a common thread which suggested that the future of digital health must be co-created with all of the end users of digital tools, but that the initial steps have only just been taken in this journey.


“We all agree that we must engage patients, but how do we do that?” asks veteran patient advocate and speaker Marie-Ennis O’Connor. “While there are some successful examples, we still don’t have a clear understanding of what has to happen in order to engage the patient, and most patients are not engaged by the system.”

Dr Bob Wachter, author of ­The Digital Doctor, notes a similar issue with the engagement of providers. “When we digitised X-rays, radiologists no longer had to go somewhere to consult physical documents. So they stopped the radiology rounds, where radiologists met as a group with their mentor. Everyone lost the benefit of his decades of experience and the camaraderie. The job satisfaction of the isolated radiologist reached a low. Today, the electronic medical record has followed a similar path of not consulting the providers, and is often their enemy.”

When the audience was asked to vote on the best eHealth plan from Norway, Romania, and the Netherlands, they opted for the Netherlands, represented by Ron Roozendahl of the Dutch Ministry of Health. Why? Because the Dutch approach could be argued to be the most efficient and collaborative, and aims to create a patient-led coalition of stakeholders: insurers, hospitals, general practitioners, pharmacists with an overarching mission to improve the health system.

Denise Silber

Communicator and event curator on digital health trends and patient empowerment


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