From the perspective of health system preparedness and resilience, it was felt that international co-operation was essential to reacting to the crisis and recovering, but panellists felt that it was often difficult to establish co-operation and maintain it in the early response to a crisis, as had clearly been the case with coronavirus.
The crisis has brought a fundamental shift of values to the world, placing new pressures on the notion of keeping up human connections, tighter bonds and deeper care. The FutureProofing Healthcare experts indicated an understanding of this novel situation from the perspective of governments, who now have to find a balance between strict blanket measures to protect public health and incorporating flexibility for individual situations, concerning childcare, mental health care and ongoing care for other health concerns.
As for the role of data, and the part it plays in ensuring digital health, the group felt that the application of data and the adoption of digital health technologies could ensure more resilient systems in the future, whereas the speed of uptake of new solutions in response to a significant challenge, like enabling close co-operation between major tech companies and governments, can promote the recovery from this crisis in the use of health data and digital health technologies. A mutual interest in tackling a major challenge such as COVID-19 should in the future be heartily encouraged, it was felt.
Health data, which covers information about individuals’ symptoms, health status, and responses to treatment, and other data, including things like location services, personal networks, attitudes and behaviors, were both considered significant contributory factors to future attitudes to such crises. From a human perspective, it would appear that COVID-19 has hit the human race at exactly the point where decisions need to be made for co-ordination and has revealed a need for international connectivity.
And the practical applications of lockdown have led us all to miss conviviality, a ‘normal’ life. The pandemic is an urgent call for national and personal reinvention and rebalancing. After all, after the Black Death came the Renaissance, was it not so? Above all, from the panel’s experts, the key call was the need for action. International co-operation is essential to reacting to the crisis and recovering it was asserted, but it can be difficult to establish co-operation and maintain it in an early response to any crisis.
The better application of targeted interventions to protect public health was felt to be essential, and a better understanding of individual circumstances could lead to a public health strategy that has fewer unintended consequences. In addition, the difference between health data, which covers information about things like individuals’ symptoms, health status, response to treatment, etc, and other data, including things like location services, personal networks, attitudes and behaviours can mean better idea of how to personalize the response to the crisis, the experts asserted.
Key speakers included Jeremy Lim (National University of Singapore), Mary Harney, former Irish health minister, Stanimir Hasurdijev (National Patients Organisation of Bulgaria), Brigitte Nolet, General manager Belgium, Roche; Shanghai Health Director Chunlin Jin and former director of WHO Research Policy and visiting professor of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Tikki Pangestu, who all spoke about the lessons learned about health system preparedness resilience.
European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) Executive Director Denis Horgan was also in attendance, as co-chairman, and Copenhagen Institute of Futures Studies Futurist Bogi Eliasen, Genomics England Former Chief Commercial Officer Joanne Hackett, Crohns & Colitis Australia CEO Leanne Raven and India director of global health nonprofit Access Health International Krishna Reddy Nallamalla were all also present, and discussed data and the role of digital health. Roche APAC Area Head Rachel Frizberg was also present.