This year’s theme ‘Designing Personalised Healthcare’ drew over 200 delegates from 30 countries to Hamburg in October for the Global E-Health Forum, where, in presentations and workshops, speakers from Canada, China, Egypt, New Zealand, Russian Federation, US A and various European countries presented their strategies and best practices. Global think tank leaders and stakeholders from all healthcare sectors used the gathering to exchange views and discuss solutions for ensuring a sustainable, patientcentric healthcare delivery.
The considerable potential of personalised healthcare in this context was acknowledged by all conference delegates. ‘We are all aware that demographic shifts, the impact of globalisation and an increased burden of chronic diseases and expensive treatments are considerable challenges for our healthcare systems,’ said Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Global E-Health Forum, Ljubisav Matejevic, during the official reception in the U.S. Consulate General in Hamburg. ‘We all agree that, in view of limited budgets and the increasing demand for highquality healthcare services, new cost-efficient, reliable and interconnected systems need to be developed. And, I guess we all believe that e-health can make a significant contribution to ensure high-quality, sustainable healthcare system.’
How Canada, partner country of this year’s Global E-Health Forum, transformed their healthcare systems through e-health was explained by Richard C Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway. The challenges and opportunities of personalised healthcare were presented by Chai Chuah, National Director, National Health Board Business Unit, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Professor Wen Ze Huai of the Research Centre Guangdong Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences lectured on designing personalised healthcare for integrated medicine (combination of the practices and methods of traditional Chinese medicine with modern medicine) by using e-health. In his keynote address, Dr Eric M Liederman, Director of Medical Informatics, The Permanente Medical Group, explained how to achieve a balance between protecting privacy and security, and fostering high quality patient care by practical examples from Kaiser Permanente. Markus Habetha-Eisenbarth, Project Manager for E-Health of Asklepios questioned what healthcare providers can learn from the industry and from social media regarding the development of e-health services. During the panel discussion, e-health was clearly identified as a key enabler for the evolution process towards personalised healthcare. However, healthcare that is proactive, instead of reactive, gives patients the opportunity and responsibility to become more involved in their own health – an issue emphasised by several conference delegates who shared their thoughts via twitter during the panel discussion.
The ultimate goal of personalised healthcare will be to shape not only diagnostic but also preventive care to match each person’s unique characteristics. Apart from the two-day conference programme, the Global E-Health Forum initiators – the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, IBM and ICC Deutschland – also organised guided tours in five Hamburg hospitals, three being Asklepios clinics. The Asklepios Hospital Group again supported the Global E-Health Forum as a cooperation partner.