M.I. E-Health – Managing integrated community & sovereign health data for emerging technologies – Are we ready? – BigStage 2020

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11 June 2020 | 13:00-14:30 | Studio The Hague | Video recording | Transcript | Forum
BigStage 2020 overview

Session teaser

Over the past decade, the integration of technology within health care has becoming increasingly visible to the European citizen, through the citizen’s own encounters with Digital based eHealth Care. Robots, Telemedicine, Artificial Intelligence and Block-Chain are a few of the new technologies and processes that are evident. These new emerging technologies in eHealth Care use vast amounts of data gathered from a variety of sources. This data, it’s nature, collection, availability, integration, management, quality, retention and disposal, drive the development of new technologies and decision making. The future lies with data driven technologies. The presenter through a series of questions is seeking insight, observations and stories regarding these developments in Digital Health Care.


The format for this session is a fireside chat. A small group of guests chatting with the session presenter, in an informal manner. Due to Corvid-19, and restrictions on physical gatherings, the virtual version of this presentation makes use of video conferencing.

Further reading

WHO & EU on status of European Health Care:

Issues in Digital Health Care:

Financing Digital Health Care:


Presenter/Key participants:

  • Dr Janet Michaelis
    Is Clinical Lead in Sexual & Reproductive Health, specializing in Psychosexual, Psychodynamic and CBT counselling, with Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK and has spent 18 years in this field of medicine.
    Dr Michaelis holds a Bachelor of Medicine from Southampton University, UK; a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychodynamic, Psychotherapeutic Counselling from the University of Brighton and a Diploma in CBT accredited by the University of the West of Scotland.
  • Prof. Bimalka Seneviratne
    Prof. Bimalka Seneviratne holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the North Colombo Medical College; Diploma in Pathology and Doctor of Medicine (MD/ Histopathology), from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    For the past 20 years she has been working as a consultant and an academic, at the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. She was past Head of the Department of Pathology and the Department of Allied Health Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Prof. Seneviratne was the President of the College of Pathologists of Sri Lanka in 2017.
    She has contributed widely towards undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Pathology. She has several scientific publications in local and international journals. Dr. Seneviratne also contributes as a supervisor for postgraduate MPhil and PhD degrees, and has functioned as a resource person for conferences and symposia.
  • Dr Stefan Bungart
    Is Founder and CEO of Growth-40 located in the Cologne area of Germany. He was most recently Head of Digital Strategy, Marketing & Incubation at Siemens, located in Orland Florida in the United States, and prior to that as Head of Digitization. He has also held positions as Vice President Strategy & Development with Deutsch TeleKom AG Digital Division in Bonn and as Senior Vice President New Services; IoT Manufacturing Solutions Leader Europe for Cisco in Stuttgart; GE Digital / Industrial Internet Programs Leader Europe in Frankfurt as well as Software Innovation Leader Germany; Innovation Leader IBM Germany and their Leader of Global Marketing Transformation Project – Country Model; Director General of the National Institute for Transportation & Logistics, Ireland, to mention some of his expertise.
    Dr Bungart holds a Diploma in Business Studies from Fachhochschule Aachen; BA (Hons) Business Studies from Coventry University and a Doctorate in Philosophy in Business Studies from Coventry University.
  • Amali De Silva – Mitchell (Presenter)
    Worked with the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, Civil Society Section since it’s inception. She founded and was a coordinator of the North American Civil Society Caucus for WSIS I; past President of the Vancouver Community Network, a non-profit ISP in Canada; past Director of the Freedom of Information & Privacy Association of British Columbia, past Director of United Nations Association Victoria, BC and is currently participating on organization teams with EuroDIG and with the IGF Dynamic Coalitions. She makes contributions to global discussions on ICTs and writes articles on technology and society for her LinkedIn account.
    Amali has worked as an Accountant for the past 20 plus years and has worked in public practice, the manufacturing sector (software, laser technology, pulp and paper...), non-profit (children’s services) and is a Senior Accountant with the Provincial Government of British Columbia Canada within Timber Pricing (Market Pricing). She has also worked within Shared Services, Common IT Services of the Province of BC.
    Amali holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Economics degree from the University of Warwick, UK; Master of Science degree in International Accounting & Finance from the London School of Economics, UK; was enrolled in the Master of Science degree in Computer Science at Imperial College, UK; is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA, CPA British Columbia, Canada) and holds a Certificate in Information Privacy from the Province of British Columbia.

Video record



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>> MODERATOR: My name is Amali De Silva, and I have with me today three lovely guests. And we will be asking them some very interesting questions. So there is Dr. Janet Michaelis from Western Sussex Hospital in the United Kingdom, and she will be talking about medicine. We have Dr. Dr. Bimalka Seneviratne, who is a medical scientist, Sri Lanka. She will be talking about reaching out internationally, rapid collaboration. And on video, we have Dr. Stefan Bungart. Most recently he was head of digital strategy, marketing and incubation with Siemens in the United States. He will talk about emerging technologies for e‑Health and making it happen.

We have three data sets. We have the personal, the national and European data sets, and we have the international data sets, so while the presenters are speaking, please keep that in the back of your mind, please. We then also must look at three timelines, what has it been in the past to the present, you know, from paper to technology, the very active present. We have a lot developing right now, and we want to look to the future, and that’s really where data becomes very, very important for data‑driven applications.

Our guests will answer a number of questions. Now, what have you observed over the past six weeks with regard to the speed of uptake of telemedicine technologies compared to what had been planned for prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic?

>> JANET MICHAELIS: Thank you, Amali.

So the beginning of the year I started a pilot in the clinic offering both telephone and video to the patients. I had very few uptakers for the video or the telephone. Most people wanted to continue face to face.

Of course, we all know that the few weeks ago there was the introduction of social distancing lockdown, so we had to change our practice very rapidly, and so I repeated this offer to the patients. This time a third of them opted for video, others for telephone and a few that said we wanted to wait until we resumed face to face. So it’s been a real opportunity to assess how video impacts on our patients and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The benefit that we have is we work over quite a large area, geographical area, and it means we could offer services to people who may not have been able to have access before, especially transport links can be difficult. So it hasn’t proved our access to care, and also remove physical barriers and psychological barriers for people coming to a clinic.

Patients have been really positive about intervention with statements like my partner can join us, I don’t have to travel, I feel comfortable in my own home. There are disadvantages and that mainly has centred on the technology. There has been a lot of discussion about the platform we have used, security concerns, privacy concerns, and then there is also the personal issues about a person may be not being able to access us from their own home, not finding a private space to talk or they risk their consultation being interrupted.

The one I find difficult is how variable the connections are, so we can lose the video mid‑session, and sometimes it’s quite hard to read what somebody is saying because you can’t see non‑verbal cues. And this can have a negative outcome. It can have negative clinical outcomes. We will continue to offer the video and continue to offer telephone.

And we probably will review our systems as well in terms of the security. As a clinician it’s fantastic, I hope that my patients continue to want to do this with me.

>> MODERATOR: That’s excellent. Thank you, Dr. Michaelis. Wonderful to show us what has happened, especially over the past couple of months with COVID‑19. So that’s lovely. So I’m now going to move on as we have short time to Dr. Seneviratne.

We hear in the news a global call for international cooperation and partnerships within the healthcare sector to combat disease, and today the call is to collaborate on the COVID‑19 pandemic. How can technologists in Europe support this initiative?

>> BIMALKA SENEVIRATNE: Thank you, Amali.

From the time the corona infection started to spread across the globe, technological applications have not only multiplied, but have also been successful in finding practical solutions to some of the pandemic‑related problems. I’m happy to mention that some of the new technologies have been able to take the pressure off from the overworked healthcare workers, especially in this part of the world.

In a time like this with so much uncertainty in relation to the evolution of COVID‑19, I would request for more and more opportunities for international collaboration for rapid innovation and skill. This would certainly help us to overcome many obstacles given this time and definitely going to help the community too. The benefits are for the community.

So some of the emerging technologies, I would like to mention a few, would be the robots. It’s becoming very popular in hospital settings. The robots have been used to deliver drugs and also even the food for the infected patients. We could get the job done easily while maintaining social distancing.

We have other technologies becoming popular such as genetic studies where the scientists are working hard in this field to find the genitive sequencing and trying to find vaccines, making use of the composition and also other technologies like nanotechnology, and also drones are being deployed in lockdown areas for monitoring, surveillance purposes. So these are some of the things I have witnessed during the pandemic.

Another area I would like to highlight would be the scientific research information, and especially evidence‑based research findings in relation to diagnostic techniques of COVID‑19, and also drug management, new vaccines, vaccine trials, prophylaxis for patients is going to be really important sharing all of this information.

This can be achieved by having easy access to journals, scientific papers and also to video conferences, participating in research symposia. So definitely more opportunities would help all of us.

>> MODERATOR: That’s wonderful, Dr. Seneviratne. That is so much information you have given us there and so interesting to hear how quickly robots come into hospitals. It’s something we are all reading about, but with COVID it has come in very quickly. Thank you for all of that information.

>> BIMALKA SENEVIRATNE: There is divergent healthcare services across the globe, and the strengths and weaknesses of services will vary from country to country. We have to understand that, but when we share our experiences, expertise, we can understand where we are going wrong, the negative side, and we might start considering better options. So even creating data hubs and also communication channels, remain connected and share this wider information, and finally it’s the community that is going to benefit.

>> MODERATOR: Yes, yes. That’s excellent, Dr. Seneviratne. That’s beautiful. I really like to hear about the diversity that you talk about there. So I think we will, as we are a little pressed for time, we will move on now to Dr. Bungart, and he is on video for us.

The question to him is how did you see the management of integrated healthcare from a data management perspective, especially in the application of data for Artificial Intelligence with the Internet of Things delivery? So we are going to link up here to a video that he has prepared for us, especially for this session.

>> STEFAN BUNGART: Thanks for having me and thanks for allowing me to share my perspective. Data management and getting at data has been the biggest problem in healthcare, regulations, laws, regional, country, global laws regarding data, data sharing have been difficult and still are. The environment for data sharing isn’t very good in the healthcare sector. Now, having said that, you know, as a startup and as someone who wants to apply Artificial Intelligence to large data sets, you need to somehow get at the data.

And there are some pivotal moments that allow you to get at large data sets, say, COVID‑19. The crisis has made available tremendous amounts of data, or, you know, you have to be creative, and you have to generate the data that allows you to use AI to come up with new insights.

Now, let me show you a number of examples, four, to be precise, of startups, companies that are using AI and data analytics to do really creative stuff and to really further the field of healthcare and how they do that. The first company I want to cover is QorIQ. They have developed a platform on which they provide two basic applications. One is for doctors, and the second one is for the patients.

The one for doctors provides doctors with healthcare data access, and allows them to administer their clinics and the goings on in the clinic and in relation to the patient. The second application is targeted at the patient and allows the patient to access healthcare data and have access to doctors’ appointments and schedules. So both sides have value from the platform. You can develop AI applications and create new insights that you can monetize.

Next up, a startup called CancerIQ. They developed a cancer risk assessment tool in an application and online, and you can give it to the patients while they are sitting in the waiting room and they fill it in. And it helps you collect all of the data necessary for the evaluation. It eliminates paperwork, and it immediately captures data digitally, thus reducing time and cost, but it also means that you have more time as a doctor for evaluations, less paperwork, and that means that you have a better care overall for the patient.

The tool they developed also allows doctors to track progress over time and hence provides additional value, and, again, a previous example, you can develop AI applications that use the large amount of data that the other applications develop over time.

The third company is MediChain. They develop block chain technology, and more importantly very recently some AI applications and they call the platform Thena AI. In the wake of the COVID‑19, they gave access to launch data sets that researchers globally shared, and their AI that is on these huge data sets see what could they learn, and they claim to have new detection methods for COVID‑19 on the back of the data that was available to the AI, and they are developing kind of applications of that detection that can be used in the field that shows that sometimes opportunity helps to pivot towards a valuable opportunity.

The last startup I want to cover is Inventors. They work with molecular analysis mapping it to every conceivable treatment outcome, and creating unique profiles for customers at the genetic level that allow them to predict treatment outcomes for each individual patient and tailor the treatment much more precisely, which is why they call it precision medicine. And furthermore, they focus on chronic inflammatory diseases which is a huge and growing market.

So good targeting and good use of data overall. This concludes my brief look at the number of startups that create unique insight and opportunity using large data sets and modern digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Dr. Bungart. That was a very interesting viewpoint there from you, and now we are going to move to the final question, and this is also for Dr. Bungart.

At a high level, which risk would you pinpoint for remediation? And at an early stage in technology development, what would perhaps assist projects to reach successful completion? So here we are. We will connect again to Dr. Bungart on video.

>> STEFAN BUNGART: What a lot of startups do is fall in love with their technology. They throw time, effort, money, and a lot of it too, into discovering what the technology can do, instead of working their way backwards from the outcome to an appropriate technology that can help you get at the outcome.

Now, what I can recommend thoroughly, everyone who considers to start a startup do is know who pays, and why they pay. Write down your hypothesis and go test them, test them, test them. Test them before you throw all of your money and all of your time at developing things. The sooner in the design process for your startup you do that, the better.

The second thing I want to recommend is to focus narrowly. Something in Blockchain, oh, something to do with AI has rarely been successful in what I have seen in startups and their success rates. To focus narrowly on a precise objective and outcome makes it so much easier to test your hypothesis, to develop around that narrow focus, and to get to value fast.

The vaguer your value proposition, oh, something in Blockchain, you can go any which way you like and you can spend all of the time in the world and all of the money in the world and never get anywhere. So focus narrowly. So my third recommendation is a no brainer. You have to get access to the data you require to build your applications and your analytics, and that’s not as easy as it sounds. When in hospitals, two departments don’t share data because the technology doesn’t allow it or the legal eagles don’t allow it, and then imagine to scale that up to the hospital, to hospitals in a region or a country or globally, and you see what a quagmire of difficulty it can be.

So getting at large data sets is essential. As you have seen in the examples of the startups I presented earlier, all of them have come out with unique ways to generate their own data sets onto which it can then apply Artificial Intelligence. So get access to large data sets. In summary, know your company customer, know who pays and why they pay. Focus narrowly. Don’t go wide. Don’t go broad. Focus narrowly. Solve the problem and work your way forward this way.

Get access to large data sets, and if you can’t get them readily in the market, then find creative ways to generate these data sets. That’s it for me. Back over to you, Amali.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Dr. Bungart. Thank you very much for that information from you, and as we are short of time, we will have to close on this session. I want to thank our three guests very, very much for being with us today, and sharing all of the expertise and knowledge with us. So thank you so much, and you stay safe. Thank you.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you very much. This was our first big stage.