Home Latest News EFN Selected by WHO Europe as expert for the SPI-DDH

EFN Selected by WHO Europe as expert for the SPI-DDH

by efn efn

The Strategic Partners’ Initiative for Data and Digital Health (SPI-DDH) builds on the digital health action plan for the WHO European Region 2023-2030, developed in September 2022, to operationalise the WHO Global strategy on digital health 2020–2025. The resolution calls upon WHO Member States “to develop effective partnerships with (…) all the relevant stakeholders across all sectors, to align their efforts (…) in the digital health area”. The EFN is thus attending the launch conference of the SPI-DDH taking place today in Copenhagen.

As expert partner, the EFN will focus on one key working group topic “Unlocking more capacity and access to healthcare with digitalisation and responsible AI”, although the other 2 working groups “Leveraging data and digital technologies to bring healthcare and prevention into the home” and “ An ecosystem approach to standards and interoperability in healthcare” are also important for frontline nurses. In addition, WHO included a fourth working group on public health focusing on the intersection of data and digital health with mental health and the health workforce.

COVID-19 put health systems and the healthcare workforce under incredible pressure, while they were already coping with long term structural constraints. Many nurses have left the profession for better work conditions, and those who are still practicing spend more time on administrative tasks than at the bedside. Technology solutions can help free up time for healthcare professionals, improve their work environment, reducing stress and errors, and letting them focus on patients.

The EFN will thus contribute to the SPI-DDH in order to empower nurses via digitalisation and responsible AI. The following key questions will guide the EFN’s work in the SPI-DDH: 1/ How can digitalisation and AI be integrated in health education systems to ensure a digitally literate and competent health workforce? What is needed to foster Life-Long Learning in digital health?  2/ How are nurses being engaged in the co-creation of digital health technologies?  3/ How can we ensure that digital interventions reduce, rather than increase, the burden on the healthcare workforce?  4/ What policy actions are required by governments and key stakeholders to improve the impact of, and prioritise investments in  digital health to unlock more capacity and access? Are there best practices that can be implemented?  5/ How can we accelerate the adoption of digital health solutions and develop data driven health ecosystems?

Furthermore, the ecosystem approach to standards and interoperability in healthcare is a key topic for nurses, as it can positively impact their workload. To improve interoperability in healthcare, we must first comprehend the heterogeneity of health systems, how technology procurement decisions are made, and what barriers to implementation of standards exist. The SPI-DDH can contribute to this by facilitating the exchange of intelligence and best practices. This is important, because while in Europe this situation is slowly changing, there is still a limited understanding by policy makers as to their role in driving interoperability across the healthcare ecosystem, which requires first to reach a common understanding of interoperability.

Finally, also how to leverage data and digital technologies to bring front-line care and disease prevention into the home will be discussed.

The increasing ability of digital health services to share patients’ data is driving new modalities of care delivery and opening new possibilities for disease prevention and management. The combination of enhanced digital and diagnostic capabilities, changing care delivery models, and health-related information becoming freely available on the internet, is empowering individuals to manage their own health and well-being. Utilizing digital technologies to integrate care teams virtually, it is also becoming more relevant to think of primary care not only as having a “gatekeeper role”, but as providing a “multiplier effect” within integrated care teams – linking and enabling the right person at the right time for the right intervention, also with the support of AI. This is however reliant upon resources being made available to care providers. The SPI-DDH will thus explore how to facilitate and better implement this.