Faces of Digital Health

Faces of Digital Health

A podcast about digital health and how healthcare systems adopt technologies.

Women’s Health: What it is, how it’s funded and what changes do we need? (Joy Rios)

Debates around equity and equality, especially concerning men and women and female representation, can become heated and divisive quickly. For a long time, female bodies have been perceived merely as male bodies with different reproductive organs. However, the differences go beyond that: 80% of people with autoimmune conditions are women, 66% of Alzheimer's disease patients are women, and symptoms of cardiovascular diseases present differently in women and men, among other disparities. These health issues significantly impact women's productivity. In today's episode, you will hear a recording from the Healthcare Business Women Ljubljana meetup focused on women's health. Joy Rios, founder of HIT Like a Girl Media joined the discussion on women's health and how the unique aspects of women's health are impacting digital health companies and businesses. While less than a quarter of CEOs in digital health companies are women, in femtech companies, 76% of founders, co-founders, and CEOs are women. Website: Newsletter: Show notes: [00:02:00] Guest Speaker: Joy Rios [00:03:00] Current State of Women's Health Common associations with women's health: menstrual health apps (Clue), pelvic floor training (Elvie), sexual health (Rosy). Innovations in women’s health: apps for sexual assault victims, and addressing menopause and ovarian health. [00:04:00] Research and Development Only 4% of R&D budgets historically went into women's health topics. Inclusion of women in clinical trials has improved, but gaps remain in medical device trials. [00:05:00] Challenges and Biases [00:06:00] Policy and Investment White House initiative and Melinda French Gates’ $2 billion investment in removing barriers for women. [00:16:00] Impact of Abortion Rights on Women's Health Roe v. Wade overturned, affecting access to abortion and impacting startups in the field. Differences in state laws create challenges in providing consistent healthcare. [00:22:00] Inspiring Developments Policy changes in Mexico leading to increased female representation in politics. Mexico’s progressive stance on women in leadership positions. [00:26:00] Advice for Women in Healthcare Business Identify unique opportunities and unmet needs in healthcare. Understand regulations and compliance. Build a supportive community and collaborate.
June 17, 2024

HIMSS Europe 2024: EHDS, future of interoperability, next steps in AI, and where patient journey fits in?

Rome was buzzing with digital health at the end of May as the HIMSS Europe conference took place at La Nuova Congress Center. Delegates from 80 countries and representatives of health ministries of 20 countries marked the event with discussions about the implementation of EHDS, the EU AI Act, and more.  In this episode, a few participants share their impressions from the discussions at the conference and the current state of healthcare digitalization in Europe. You will hear from:  Jordi Piera-Jiménez. Director of the Digital Health Strategy Office, Catalan Health Service, who shared his view and experience on data management and data standards,  Rachel Dunscombe , CEO of openEHR foundation and former the UK AI council member leading on AI in digital health and care, who presented the discussions on AI, Svava María Atladóttir, Executive Director of Development, Landspítali National University Hospital Iceland, about what it takes to build a new hospital which is what she needs to do by 2030,  Nana Odom, Director of Clinical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic in London, who shared her advice for clinical engineers, Diana van Stijn, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Lapsi Health and resident of Pediatrics at UMC Amsterdam, who talked about the doctor’s perspective on the use of tech and upskilling,  Luke Evason, Consultant and Monica Kleiijn Evason, Leadership Coach and Book Author, who both talked about the patient perspective on gaps in healthcare, particulary at the transfer of children going from pediatric to adult care.  Data quality is key for quality AI, another big topic globally, with regulation outlined in Europe with the EU AI Act. Where are discussions in healthcare? The EU AI Act is here, and discussions now resolve around implementation and technical questions.  The potential of data is huge… if the data is of good quality. This doesn’t only refer to clinical notes doctors input in electronic health records, but also how other data from devices, laboratories and more flows into EHR. Oftentimes, hospitals still battle with lack of interoperability and manual transcriptions between systems or from devices for vital signs, infusions pumps, etc. to clinical systems. This creates opportunities for errors. Hospitals that have all the systems connected, need to be mindful of other challenges. Cybersecurity went well beyond teaching employees to spot phishing email. Now, third party devices can pose a cybersecurity risk, creating a whole new set of challenges and requirements. Care delivery is there for patients. Various topics were addressed at HIMSS about patients - from digital health literacy, concerns and hopes around the European health data space, there was an interoperability showcase on the showfloor which demonstrated the benefits of the European Patient Summary when patients travel abroad, of the impact of cross-border health that gives clinicians in regions outside patient’s residence valuable information about their health state. Many things are still missing though. One of them being improved patient journey, especially at the transit from pediatric to adult care. Newsletter:
June 2, 2024

Can We Harmonize Medication Management Across Europe?

According to WHO, the global cost associated with medication errors is 42 billion US dollars. Errors can happen at the point of prescribing, transcribing from one system to the other, or administration, when the wrong patient is given either the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Medication administration errors can be prevented with the introduction of closed-loop medication management, where all points of medication handling are connected and done electronically; even medication administration is done with the help of barcode scanning of the patient barcode and medication barcode. Three European specialists from the Netherlands, UK, and Belgium recently started a European project, Asclepius, which advocated for the introduction of closed-loop medication management systems in the hospitals. They connected with colleagues from UK, France, Iceland, Belgium, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden to strive for alignment on the European level. So in today’s discussion, you will hear from Patrick van Oirschot, Patrick Koch and Francine de Stoppelaar talk about the need for improved medication safety. Newsletter: Show notes: Main Discussion: [00:01:00] Medication administration errors can be prevented with the introduction of closed-loop medication management, where all points of medication handling are connected electronically. Guest Introductions: [00:04:00] Patrick van Oswalt ("Pat"), a veteran in hospital pharmacy with a focus on digitalization and closed-loop medication management strategies. [00:05:00] Francine de Stoppelaer, a clinical pharmacist with a 25-year career in healthcare leadership, notably involved in building and operating the Cleveland Clinic London. [00:06:00] Patrick, with a background in medical imaging and pharmacy automation, emphasizes the need for digital transformation in hospital pharmacies. Challenges and Solutions: [00:08:00] Discussion on medication safety across Europe, highlighting the significant number of medication errors and associated costs. Specific examples include 19,000 deaths per year in Germany due to medication errors. [00:10:00] Explanation of closed-loop medication management and barcode scanning at the bedside to ensure the right medication reaches the right patient. [00:14:00] Different approaches to medication management in various countries, focusing on the importance of digital and automated processes. Implementation Strategies: [00:16:00] Discussion on where hospitals should start when considering digital transformation for medication safety, highlighting the importance of electronic prescribing and bedside scanning. [00:18:00] The experience of implementing a fully digital hospital at Cleveland Clinic London, including workforce planning and gaining buy-in from healthcare professionals. Project Overview: [00:20:00] Introduction to the Asclepius project and its goals to harmonize medication management workflows across Europe. [00:22:00] Highlighting the need for standardization in medication databases and the varying approaches to medication management across different countries. Impact and Future Directions: [00:24:00] The potential impact of digital and automated medication management on patient safety, efficiency, and sustainability. [00:26:00] Encouraging adoption of best practices and the importance of measuring and monetizing the benefits of closed-loop systems. [00:28:00] Challenges in convincing decision-makers and ensuring effective implementation amidst existing workloads.
May 22, 2024

Learning From pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy – What’s Next to EHDS? (Eric Sutherland)

The European Health Data Space is around the corner. The legislation is confirmed. How do we get to the next steps? Today you will hear a discussion with Eric Sutherland, Senior Health Economist and Digital Health Lead at OECD, who worked on the pan-Canadian health data strategy before his current role. We discussed the upcoming implementation of the European Health Data Space, what needs to happen next, how do we involve the public, encourage trust in data sharing, and also build capacity for digital health implementation. We are moving into the era of new required data professionals, not just data analysts, but also data controllers, data stewards and more. Newsletter: Show notes: [00:02:00] - Eric Sutherland's background and transition from Canada to OECD [00:04:00] - Challenges and solutions in Canadian health data strategy, emphasizing the need for data stewardship and public engagement [00:06:00] - Importance of data interoperability and policy compatibility across regions [00:08:00] - Goals of Canadian health data strategy and its impact, focusing on improving healthcare delivery through better data utilization. [00:10:00] - Governance and collective impact in Canadian healthcare [00:12:00] - European health data space and public engagement [00:14:00] - Opt-out provisions and public interest in European health data space [00:16:00] - Setting standards and policy compatibility in Europe [00:18:00] - Learning from historical approaches in healthcare data strategies [00:20:00] - Digital health literacy and public engagement [00:22:00] - Simplifying communication in digital health [00:24:00] - Role of patient leaders and public deliberation in health policy [00:26:00] - Public expectations on health data usage [00:28:00] - Economics of digital health and ROI [00:30:00] - Utilizing health data for policy and research [00:32:00] - Interoperability and investment in digital health infrastructure [00:34:00] - Shifting towards a prevention-based health system [00:36:00] - Workforce and capacity building in digital health [00:38:00] - Automation and the future of health workforce
May 7, 2024

Switzerland, AI and Liquid Biopsies

AI and predictive modeling to understand an individual’s immune system function and predict treatment response are still in very early stages. We dream about precision medicine and getting every answer we can for ourselves when we get sick. However, if we look at genomics, only about 20 percent of human coding genes are well-studied. The remaining 80 percent (about 16,000 genes, along with the proteins they make) are largely a mystery.  In this episode, you will hear more about the field of immuno-oncology, understand the correlation between tumor development and immune system response, and trends in cancer detection and prevention, especially liquid biopsies - tests for detecting tumors in blood samples.  Speaker: Brian Hashemi - Executive Chairman and CEO of Novigenix - a Swiss-based biotech company using AI and RNA sequence analysis to capture the cancer immunity cycle during the multi-stage disease progression and response to therapy. Show notes: [00:02:00] The use of AI and RNA sequence analysis in capturing the cancer immunity cycle and disease progression [00:04:00] Biotech in Switzerland [00:06:00] The impact of Swiss biotech capabilities on global healthcare and the specific advancements made by Swiss companies in the field. [00:08:00] Predictions and hopes for the future of healthcare technology, especially in the realms of cancer detection and treatment. [00:10:00] Challenges and opportunities in biotech, and the role of AI in advancing healthcare. [00:12:00] Challenges in Colorectal Cancer Screening [00:14:00] The Impact of Liquid Biopsy on Clinical Trials and Drug Development [00:16:00] Market Adoption and Patient Accessibility to Liquid Biopsy Tests [00:18:00] The Future of Liquid Biopsy and Precision Medicine [00:20:00] Real-world Application and Impact of Novel Biomarkers [00:22:00] Expanding the Reach of Novel Diagnostics Beyond Switzerland [00:24:00] Partnerships and Collaborations to Accelerate Adoption
April 25, 2024

Healthtech in the GCC Countries: Focus on Infrastructure and Export Capabilities

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brings together six Arab countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates  When one reads about the GCC countries, there’s nothing but the impression of prosperity: high investments, determination, and enthusiasm in tech-supported healthcare.  The spending on healthcare by the GCC governments is on an astronomical rise. From a regionwide US$2.4 billion in 2016, it rose to more than US$30 billion in 2021 and is projected to surpass US$104 billion this year, according to a report from the UAE Ministry of Economy.  In this episode, Pilar Fernandez Hermida  International Go-to-Market expert with 20+ years of experience launching sales & partner ecosystem strategies, talks about the potential of the Middle East and MENA region for healthtech companies, the culture in the Middle East, how to interpret different style of communication here, what are the common entrepreneurial misconceptions, and where to find opportunities. Pilar says that the entrepreneurial spirit here is 10-times as strong as in the US, and that biotech and drug development are the next thing to watch for in the region. Newsletter: Show notes: [00:02:00] Pilar Fernandez Hermida, an expert in healthcare market strategies, shares insights from Abu Dhabi. [00:04:00] Analysis of the healthcare infrastructure development in GCC post-pandemic. [00:08:00] The role of expats in the Middle East's healthcare transformation. [00:10:00] Public-private partnerships as key opportunities. [00:12:00] Cultural considerations for startups in the GCC. [00:14:00] Misconceptions about the Middle Eastern healthcare market. [00:18:00] Building long-term relationships in business. [00:20:00] Navigating diverse cultural communication in healthcare. [00:24:00] Comparing the entrepreneurial spirit in the Middle East with the U.S. and Europe. [00:28:00] Strategic advice for healthcare entrepreneurs targeting the GCC. [00:30:00] Importance of understanding regulations and digital maturity in MENA. [00:32:00] Future potential in biotech and digital health in the GCC. [00:36:00] The convergence of digital health and biotech.
April 9, 2024

DTx in 2024: Where Are We With Business and Reimbursement Models? (Andy Molnar)

In the last few years, we've witnessed a whirlwind of developments in the world of Digital Therapeutics (DTx) - from FDA approvals sparking optimism for the industry, to the establishment of regulatory frameworks in countries like Germany, France, and Belgium. However, in 2023, the industry faced a stark reality check, marked by the fall of some key players and healthcare systems' hesitancy towards embracing and financing these innovations. This turbulence has reshaped strategies and raised critical questions about the future of DTx. 🔍 In this episode learn more about: 📊 The current state of the DTx industry in 2024, 🗣️ Key debates of digital therapies industry players, 🌐 Advocacy efforts pushing the boundaries for global adoption, 🚀 Strategies to accelerate the integration of digital therapies worldwide. Newsletter: Website:
April 2, 2024

What Factors Should be Taken into Account in Designing ePROs – Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes Solutions?

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) have become increasingly integral in healthcare for assessing the effectiveness of treatments from the patient's perspective. It sounds like a reasonable step in improving clinical research and care provision, but gathering data can be more difficult then you may think. It isn't easy to get to marginalized communities. There are language barriers in collecting data. There are cultural aspects that impact responses. So, how can you design useful electronic solutions for patient-reported outcomes? Hear from Mustafa Ali Syed, Researcher at the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The University of Manchester, and Ben James, Co-founder/Chief Design Officer at uMotif - ePRO, an engagement platform designed to power clinical and real-world research. Both are co-authors of a recently published paper titled Exploring the Cross-cultural Acceptability of Digital Tools for Pain Self-reporting. Newsletter: Show notes: 00:00:00 Why Do PROs Matter? 00:04:00 Evolution of Data Collection 00:06:00 Importance of Diversity in Clinical Trials 00:08:00 Ethnicity, Culture, and Pain Perception 00:12:00 The Role of Technology in PROs 00:14:00 Designing Inclusive Digital Solutions 00:20:00 Challenges in Engaging Targeted Populations 00:22:00 Language and Communication Barriers 00:26:00 The Future of PRO Research
March 19, 2024
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Faces of Digital Health

Faces of Digital Health explores the speed at which healthcare systems around the world are adopting digital transformation. Specially curated discussions with carefully selected speakers challenge overtly hyped assumptions about the modern state of healthcare innovation. The podcast’s primary goal is to share the insight required to facilitate the necessary discussion that will start improving healthcare on a global scale.


Tjasa Zajc

Tjasa Zajc

Tjaša Zajc is a former healthcare journalist with a passion for digital health. She regularly explores how different cultures and people alike, approach the complexities of healthcare around the world. She has a Masters degree in healthcare management and economics from the University of Ljubljana.

After years of experience in healthcare journalism and event management, she started exploring the effects of IT adoption in the digital health industry through business development and communications management in healthcare IT, currently as part of the OPENeP ePMA team at Better.

She is also an ambassador of FTR4H Global Hub for Digital Health, and active member of the Slovenian digital health community was a mentor in Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin and a contributor to MedTech Engine, among other things.

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