On September 23-24, EUREGHA attended the Big Data, Electronic health records and health governance conference which took place in Milan, Italy. The two-day workshop was organized by the Lombardy Foundation for Biomedical Research to delve into one of the thematic areas of the Horizon 2020-funded project Regions4PerMed. The project is coordinated by Toscana Life-sciences, partners are: Lower Silesian Voivodeship Marshal Office, the Lombardy Foundation for Biomedical Research, Health Knowledge Agency (ACIS) of Galicia, Wroclaw Medical University.

Launched in 2018, Regions4PerMed aims at coordinating regional policies and innovation programmes in Personalised Health and Medicine to accelerate its deployment for citizens and patients. Overarching goal is to align strategies and financial instruments, identify key investment areas and release a strategic European Agenda to reinforce cooperation between H2020, ESIF on personalised health and medicines aspects, strengthening industrial specialisation areas in Europe, and enabling interregional investment in the field.

Regions4PerMed is based on a dialogue between experts from more than 50 European Regions. As it is known that the healthcare sector can significantly benefit from a more integrated and interoperable health care sharing system, Regions4PerMed aims to improve healthcare by combining data and technology to work towards enhanced personalised care. The objective of the workshop held in Milan was to gain a deeper understanding of how big data and digitalisation are supportive of new integrated care structures and patient-centred care models.

The event started with a welcome speech given by Mrs Marina Gerini, Director General of Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerda Biomedica. Afterwards, Gianni D’Errico, Project Coordinator of Regions4PerMed explained the aims and context of the project and the workshop. The first session additionally included short lectures on the subject of Value of Data and the political responsibility to use it and the Value of Information analysis (VOI). Finally, the topic of Data Sharing and trust was raised by Neeme Tonisson from the Estonian Genome Center.

During the second half of the day, EUREGHA attended two parallel sessions. The first one (Policy area 2: investments on big data infrastructures) stressed that regions can support the process of data-based innovations by working with international partnerships to identify demands and values in the healthcare sector. Clear goals need to be set within public-private networks to create models of best-practice. This will trigger a shift in the current state of art, encouraging more local relations, cooperation, and collaborations that will facilitate the uptake of innovative healthcare.  Topics discussed were:

  • Public investments at regional level;
  • Structural funds
  • S3 Platforms and interregional investments;
  • Private investments to support multiregional investment pipelines;
  • Public-private-partnerships

The second session (Healthcare organisations in a changing environment) addressed current challenges the healthcare sector is facing with regards to patient management, implementation and the use of integrated data. The implementation and use of integrated data science offers healthcare organizations the opportunity to: i) combine traditional (clinical) datasets, including data from the electronic health record, with emerging big data sources, ii) enable better patient management, as well as implementation of continuous patient monitoring and real time laboratory results. Platforms can enable cost-effective and scalable analytics for the information as key to comprehensive access to health care.  Topics discussed were:

  • New models for earlier “taking care approach” (enabling prevention and prediction approaches)
  • Continuity of care and management of chronicity
  • Healthcare budgeting reimbursement models;
  • Healthcare staff and the challenges of data integration in hospitals and general medical care.

The second day of the conference focused on capacity building. EUREGHA was asked to give a presentation on the association’s vision, aim, structure and tools. The exchange was crucial to understand how EUERGHA can possibly support Regions4PerMed in its advocacy process toward the EU institutions and other European stakeholders.