Chair/Moderator: Giampaolo Armellin, Head of Research Unit, CRG – Centro Ricerche GPI s.r.l, Italy

Presenters: Carmelo Battaglia, Public Administration and Institutional Relations, INFOCERT, Italy

Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, Director, Knowledge, Ethics and Research Department, WHO-World Health Organization

Florence Gaudry-Perkins, International Director-Global Government Sector, Alcatel-Lucent HQ, France

Antoine Geissbuhler, Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics, UNIGE- University of Geneva, Switzerland

Romain Lacombe, Independent Open Data Expert, France

Mario Po’, Executive Director, Azienda ULSS Venezia & Giuseppe Grassi, Director Cardiology Department, Venice Hospital, Venezia, Italy

Sinikka Salo, Deputy Mayor Healthcare and Social Welfare, City of Oulu, Finland

Ulrich Wuermeling, Partner Global Co-Chair of the Information Technology Industry Group, Latham & Watkins, Germany

Alessandro Zanotelli, President and CEO, SPID, Italy


Mr. Al-Shorbaji opined that connected health was the future but could not be achieved by the effort of just one institution or government. In this line, he underscored the importance of sharing ideas about e-health, as well as the importance of connected health as the way to address the universal health challenge. As an example, he talked about the World Bank and WHO initiative to join their forces to support universal health coverage. The aim of this project is to give every citizen the right to get healthcare regardless of the age and income, and more importantly, without getting poor(er).

Mr. Al-Shorbaji also tried to look at how IT could play a bigger role in the successful completion of the universal healthcare project. According to him, there is a need to deliver affordable services to patients while at the same time ensuring the security of data. We live in times where we are moving from paper version to digital environment, from the first to the second, from active to proactive, availability to accessibility, standalone to network etc.

What are the implications for e-health development?

The development of e-health implies many aspects:

  • Confidentiality;
  • Legal trust in technology;
  • Resistance of professionals and patients to change

Nowadays a huge amount of information is being collected (Big data), so it is important to define the use of this data. Information sharing among health professionals will give to the different actors the opportunity to grasp many angles of views other than just those coming from the patients.

Mr. Ulrich Wuermeling talked about privacy concerns and law with regards to connected health. These growing concerns are linked to governments, companies, and individuals. Connected health involves many risks specially when dealing with highly sensitive data (there is the risk of information misuse, on one side and a growing tendency to strengthen privacy laws in the world, on the other). According to him, the IT solution requirements and laws should be transparent and authorized.

Mr. Alessandro Zanotelli introduced the open infrastructure of digital health care to the audience. He mentioned paperless solution and cost reduction as the main advantages leading to an increase of efficiency. This is the so called Buster System – a robotized drug supply chain system put in place by his company to deliver medication to the end user – which reduces costs, reduces errors and builds efficiency.

Mr. Mario Po’ presented the system for digital management of drugs in the Cardiology Unit of a hospital in Venice, as well as the use of e-prescription.

According to Mr. Antoine Geissbuhler, what is important in delivering service in Switzerland is easing the transitions in healthcare by moving from impatient to e-patients. He also stated that information was care, and that putting IT at use in healthcare was part of the solution to improve quality, and provide support for decision-making.

Again, according to him, the Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics at UNIGE- University of Geneva strives to develop tools to help the hospital such as apps to communicate waiting time to patients, enable information transparency, and help each stakeholder in the healthcare sector make smart choices. Equally effective could also be the following approaches: using video game to help adolescents learn about their medical records; social networking to rank hospitals as an opportunity to patient engagement etc.

Ms. Florence Gaudry-Perkins expressed her view that mobile health (m-health) is a powerful tool for health access in developing countries. Indeed computer penetration is less than 1% whereas mobile penetration in Africa exceeds 80%. At the moment, there is a very little or underdeveloped infrastructure in this part of the world with requires investments from Alcatel. With m-health close to 1 million lives could be saved in Africa over the next 5 year.

The following speakers talked about connected resources and data:

  • Mr. Romain Lacombe believes that opening healthcare data will encourage participation of startups to develop m-health application.
  • Ms. Sinikka Salo tackled the requirement for e-health infrastructure. She called it the «finish data miracle» because of the major cost cut down in healthcare.