HIMSS Liège prompts industry leaders to work towards a “co-designed” health and care system

Liège, Belgium - 3 April 2019: Under the motto “Bringing Hospitals and Patients together through Information and Technology”, HIMSS Liège (1-3 April) convened over 170 participants mainly from across the Benelux region and France at the University of Liège (ULg) for a two-day event.

The event offered unique opportunities to learn from speakers around the globe as to how different stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem can contribute to engage patients more effectively in their own care with the underlying support of information and technology. Organised by HIMSS in conjunction with the Liège University Hospital and the University of Liège, the conference’s programme provided a well-balanced blend of opportunities to learn from best practices, hands-on experience, debates as well as exchanges.

To give participants an example of what patient-centricity in practice can look like, the conference concluded with a guided tour of the Liège University Hospital, which is among Europe’s most digitally mature hospitals. Professor Philippe Kolh, Chief Information Officer and Chairman of the Department of Medico-Economic Information at the University Hospital of Liège, remarked: “It is an excellent case in point of what can be achieved if digital health is seen as an enabler in our ongoing striving towards excellence. By sharing our experience, we like to encourage others in their endeavour to bring patients and hospitals closer – be it inside or outside the actual hospital walls.” He urged the attendants to focus on patient experience and to make hospital staff aware of this. Kolh added: “This will go hand in hand with the progress of handling the patient data because well-informed caregivers will be more comfortable in interacting with patients. Those patients, in turn, will feel more at ease during such interactions and, hence, this will ultimately result in a positive experience.”

The tour focused the hospital’s teledermatology project; its innovative medical simulation center that is used for advancing teaching and research and the facility dedicated to cancer patients. It was rounded off with a closer view at the clinical microbiology laboratory’s automated bacteriology chain.

The series of presentations and panel discussions in addition to a workshop and start-up pitches explored the makings of a positive, empowering patient experience. Some of the key insights included the necessity for improving communication and streamlining administrative and financial workflows; introducing the notion of user experience right at the onset of product design, not as an afterthought; exploring new care models to extend the patient-caregiver relationship beyond the hospital; establishing a patient platform for mutual support and guidance as well as to influence policy makers; equipping caregivers with the tools needed to optimise their support of patients and also fostering a culture that inspires changes in behaviour.

Harold (Hal) Wolf III, President and CEO, HIMSS, commented: “The redesign of the collective health ecosystem is upon us due to the many drivers including economics, demographics and a demanding consumer.  To redesign without the patient/citizen/consumer at the very beginning, middle and end of the process would be a tragic mistake.  The dialogue in Liège was beautifully balanced with the whole person in mind!”

Pia Heikkurinen, Theme-Specialist, Capacity for Renewal at Sitra, Finland, reflected on the latest HIMSS event and already drew attention to the next HIMSS conference: “For more than two days we had been debating how to better put us, the patients, at the centre of the discussion. Dr. Victoria Betton reminded us of the importance of understanding the attitude we have as patients towards technology. A more “involved” and “co-designed” healthcare system is what we should all work towards. At the upcoming HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference this June in Helsinki we will continue this conversation with speakers such as Aron Anderson bringing his patient perspective in today’s health systems. This international conference with country pavilions coming from all over the world (South Korea, Italy and Russia, amongst others) will lead the discussions on what a long-term integrated healthcare ecosystem should look like.”


Editor’s notes

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HIMSS is a global advisor and thought leader supporting the transformation of health through information and technology. As a mission driven non-profit, HIMSS offers a unique depth and breadth of expertise in health innovation, public policy, workforce development, research and analytics to advise global leaders, stakeholders and influencers on best practices in health information and technology. Through our innovation companies, HIMSS delivers key insights, education and engaging events to healthcare providers, governments and market suppliers, ensuring they have the right information at the point of decision. As an association, HIMSS encompasses more than 72,000 individual members and 630 corporate members. We partner with hundreds of providers, academic institutions and health services organizations on strategic initiatives that leverage innovative information and technology. Together, we work to improve health, access and the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, HIMSS serves the global health information and technology communities with focused operations across North America, Europe, United Kingdom, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.www.himss.org

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