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Putting patients at the heart of the healthcare system: the industry’s digital transformation

Held on 12-14 June, the Medicines for Europe and IGBA Conference featured a special session on modern and innovative healthcare system. Initiated by Polpharma, the panel was hosted by its CEO Markus Sieger who focused on ways to combine forces in the healthcare ecosystem and use technology to finally put patients at the heart of the healthcare system.

The global healthcare ecosystem is undergoing a transformation by becoming more open to patients and incorporating new technologies. 90% of Europeans want to have access to their medical records through secure on-line tools, while 80% are ready to share their medical information as long as privacy is protected.

Some of topics discussed at the panel included technology enabled advances in prevention, diagnostics and treatment, ways to improve patient engagement, regulatory challenges, digital solutions in the Polish system, the pharmaceutical industry 4.0, and blockchain models in healthcare.

The CEO of Polpharma started off by tackling the question of sustainable development and sustainability of healthcare systems. “To ensure viability of healthcare systems, it’s imperative that they evolve towards the patient-centric model so that people can stay healthy for as long as possible. The fewer people need treatment, the more money is available for therapies for those suffering from serious diseases. To achieve this, all of the sector’s stakeholders need to combine forces because acting together is the only way we can develop the most effective and efficient healthcare models. The second pre-requisite is to give citizens access to information on health risk factors and ways to stay healthy, and to support them in living a healthy lifestyle and preventing diseases,” he explained.

“Let’s talk about what steps need to be immediately taken so that technology can now support patients as efficiently as possible in getting treatment and staying healthy. These broad discussions are really needed, since building a modern healthcare ecosystem requires coordinated collaboration between market participants and willingness of the public administration,” said Markus Sieger, CEO of Polpharma Group, encouraging the other panelists to take the floor.

Wiktor Rynowiecki from the Centre for Health Information Systems at the Ministry of Health presented digital solutions already implemented in the Polish healthcare system. Some of the solutions covered included e-prescription and e-referral which already make life easier for both doctors and patients and save them time. “The pilot e-prescription programme was launched in May 2018. All pharmacies in Poland are now ready to accept electronic prescriptions, and starting next year, all prescriptions will be processed digitally.”

“75% of consumers expect digital services that will support them in staying healthy. We already have digital tools that can predict hyperglycaemia a few hours before the actual event to help the patient prepare for it. The key to making further progress in this direction is through personalised therapies which requires big data processing,” said Christina Busmalis, IBM.

Aleksandra Auleytner and Piotr Najbuk representing the law office DZP also emphasised the importance of access to patient information. “The ability to process large amounts of health data is a key prerequisite for further innovation in medicine and the use of solutions, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and telemedicine. Therefore, the first step to an improved and modernised healthcare is the implementation of regulations that will allow patients to safely and securely share their medical information,” Piotr Najbuk explained.

Blockchain technology may be a response to this demand. During the session, it was discussed by Piotr Mieczkowski, Director of Digital Poland Foundation. “We can already imagine many applications for blockchain solutions in healthcare. These include safe processing and co-sharing of patients’ medical information, optimisation of the supply chain and diminishing illegal drug trade, improvement of the accuracy of clinical trials by eliminating data manipulation, and increasing efficiency by eliminating red tape and removing payment and settlement intermediaries. The implementation of each of these tools will speed up the construction of digital healthcare.

When asked about what needs to be done immediately to start the digital transformation in healthcare today, the panelists mentioned digitalization and processing of medical information using AI tools, shortening the distance between the patient and the drug manufacturer, convincing public administration to a patient-centric approach focused on the quality of services to ensure that patients stay healthy, and preparing regulations that will establish the ethical standards for artificial intelligence and other digital tools.

Having brought together representatives of the public administration, IT solution providers, non-governmental organisations, the legal expert community, and the pharmaceutical industry, this session shows that digital transformation of the healthcare system in Poland is being taken increasingly seriously. The panelists agreed that working for a change in healthcare towards a patient-centric system is a joint commitment of all stakeholders, and expressed their willingness to participate in further efforts to improve healthcare in Poland.

The session was held at Sofitel Victoria Hotel in Warsaw on Friday, 14 June, at 3:15 PM.

Host: Markus Sieger, CEO, Polpharma Group

The panel was attended by:

  •  Patient-centric Approach – a New Today – Christina M. Busmalis, Director of Global Life Sciences, IBM Watson Health
  •  Digital Solutions in the Polish Healthcare System – Wiktor Rynowiecki, Centre for Health Information Systems
  • Barriers and Challenges in the EU Regulatory Environment – Aleksandra Auleytner, PhD, Partner at DZP, Head of IP/TMP Practice and Piotr Najbuk, Senior Associate at DZP, Leader of Healthcare Innovation Team
  • Pharmaceutical Industry 4.0 – Dariusz Szymański, Polpharma Industrial Operations Consultant
  • Blockchain in Healthcare – Piotr Mieczkowski, Director of Digital Poland Foundation