Europe’s digital healthcare future will be built on a digitised patient journey that requires data as its fuel. Simon Chassain, Deputy Director of International Sales at Enovacom and Cyril Dauberte, Business Development Manager for the DACH region, look at how technology is supporting the digital transformation of care across Europe.
Healthcare across Europe is one of the last industries to have embraced digitisation. Now, the coronavirus crisis has been a catalyst for the digital transformation of care.
In Germany, the 3 billion euro Hospital Futures Act investment looks to accelerate digitisation of hospital care, alongside the introduction of a national electronic health record in 2021. Switzerland is also moving towards an electronic patient record that can take it beyond its reliance on paper. The Nordics and Benelux countries are also looking to consolidate and enhance their use of technology in care.
Despite being at different stages of development, many countries are looking at how they can digitise the patient journey, with wider use of digital touchpoints across each person’s interaction with health services.
Patient portals, remote consultations and telehealth are common elements of such an approach, which sees care delivered by a range of providers who collaborate around the needs of patients.
Interoperability and data sharing are vital if countries are to effectively apply technology to support this, and help achieve healthcare’s Triple Aim of better care for individuals, better population health, and lower per capita costs.
Using a data repository and interoperability for the future of health and care
Achieving this will require robust approaches to storing, accessing and sharing data.
For storage and access, healthcare providers can use a data repository to be the backbone for services such as a patient portal, online appointment booking, and remote consultations.
The data repository can also be the foundation for integrated, collaborative care, providing authorised access to documents held by numerous organisations and care settings.
Data sharing is a common challenge. Interoperability and integration engines can connect the numerous systems that have evolved from decades of sporadic investment in digital health. With connected systems, data is no longer siloed; it can become actionable information accessible from within the patient record.
As a result, interoperability helps legacy technology to deliver value with a longer useful lifespan. It also helps organisations be more flexible in their approach to new technology, as they can still share information without being tied to a single system or vendor.
Our work with intensive care units is a good example of how interoperability can transform care. Our customers are using Enovacom technology for medical device integration projects that automate the collection of vital signs and physiological data from medical devices into the patient record. Critical care nursing teams can access the data they need without the need to be close to infected patients.
Such integration is central to work of new hospitals, too. We are working with a new-build hospital in Finland to connect hundreds of medical devices in a similar fashion, so that staff can have easy access to data, and the hospital be paperless as soon as it goes live.
Empowering staff to use interoperability to transform care
We also believe that interoperability should not be seen as a superpower. That is why we train staff to use our technology so they can make their own connections between systems.
With such support, and with intuitive technology that needs no coding expertise, people and organisations can apply the power of interoperability across the patient journey, without the need for specialist in-house skills or external support.
This means that hospitals can focus on delivering the best in care, rather than their time working through the logistics of sharing, accessing and integrating data. That’s where we want to make it easy, so that Europe’s healthcare providers can use health data to achieve their Triple Aim objectives.
It is encouraging to see that interoperability and data sharing are recognised as fundamental features of Europe’s digital health future. We continue to work with healthcare providers here and across the globe to help them see the full potential of the talent and technology they possess, as we enter exciting times for digital health.