Digital Health Blogs is happy to share with our audience some insights into the approaching HIMSS21 & Health 2.0 European Health Conference taking place on June 7-9, 2021. On the occasion of the partnership between Frontiers Health and HIMSS21 Europe digital health conferences, we talked with Sean Roberts, Vice President at HIMSS EMEA and Pascal Lardier, Vice President – Events & Media Content at HIMSS International to get an idea of HIMSS21 Europe’s focus in light of the current digital health landscape.
Which digital health trends are you seeing at HIMSS?
Pascal: Talking about digital health trends, I would focus on two things. First, the digital health boom we are going through now is not connected to any specific revolutionary technology that came out – like what happened earlier with blockchain, for example – but to the accelerated adoption of tech and digital in health. Before the pandemic, there were always reasons why digital and remote healthcare couldn’t be adopted: policies, lack of infrastructure and so on. With the COVID crisis, these impediments suddenly became less of an issue, and we have since seen rapid adoption – mainly, because there were no more excuses to postpone it.
In my opinion, a big challenge right now is preventing a return to the pre-pandemic way of doing things. For example, an NHS letter sent out last week encouraged GPs to resume face-to-face consultations. There is hardly a reason to do so if it’s comfortable for the patient and the doctor and reduces the risk of commuting to the hospital. That’s why we need to work on the forward-looking approach instead of sliding backwards.
Second, I would highlight the increasing importance of digital maturity, acknowledged by governments and health systems. Before the pandemic we never thought of digital maturity in light of how it helps build more resilient health systems that come out of the crises better. Consequently, I think there’s now a new reason to make sure we evaluate and improve the digital maturity of our national health systems. In response to the increased demand, HIMSS has recently been doing a lot work here.
Please, tell us a bit more about the focus of the HIMSS21 European conference in this context. Which strategic topics will be addressed at the event?
Sean: HIMSS21 Europe will be our second digital event following last year’s edition. The conference will last three full days, from June 7th to 9th, and complemented by an additional day (June 10th) dedicated to the special initiatives Swiss eHealth Summit and Global Maternal Health Tech Challenge Semi-Finals. HIMSS21 Europe’s agenda is built around such topics as value-based healthcare, health scalability and sustainability, health data collaboration, and discussing what’s next for Europe after the pandemic crisis.
In addition, we are linking HIMSS21 with the Portugal eHealth Summit held June 1-2 under the patronage of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU. Both events are aligned on key themes like digital transformation and the European health data space.
At HIMSS21 Europe we also continue to expand our “Good Morning From” sessions that allow us to give voice to and unite different communities. This year we will have “Good Mornings” from Finland (a HIMSS strategic partner), Portugal, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, each focused on a specific topic the country has worked on in recent years. For example, our Finnish partners will be talking about fair and transparent data ecosystems, which is the domain they are very good at.
In terms of the digital event model, we are departing from the previous digital exhibit hall. At HIMSS21 we are introducing the Content Hubs that will display the relevant sessions and the Corporate Resource Centres of the event partners and sponsors according to the topic area. It means that if a visitor chooses “digital transformation” as his interest, he will be guided to all participants and activities related to digital transformation. There will be five Content Hubs, like AI and Data Analytics Hub and Connected Care Hub. This initiative is contributing to the HIMSS mission of bringing different communities and ecosystems together.