Strategic Planning

Mind the Gap in Digital Health: Trust

Three healthcare professionals in a meeting.

Mind the Gap in Digital Health: Trust

HIMSS and the Finnish Ministry for Social Affairs and Health co-hosted the 4th annual Digital Health Advisory Group for Europe (DHAGE) High-Level Meeting. DHAGE is a thought leadership platform for key decision-makers in Europe to identify synergies and nurture collaborations on digital health policies. The outcome of the high-level meeting is documented in the report that focuses on collaborative actions, policy recommendations, and suggestions for joint strategic initiatives.

The High-Level Group continued to build on the outcomes of the previous meetings to focus on one of the core requirements for maintaining the drive towards digital transformation of health and care in Europe: the need for trust.

The Group looked at how to earn, maintain and, if necessary, regain trust in digital health services in order to trigger long-term positive outcomes for society as a whole. Such trust is key to continuing to build on the digital health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, that were discussed in 2020, and ensuring that digital health can help improve equitable access for all, as addressed in 2021.

The Group looked at the following closely interlinked topics:

  • The role of the proposed EHDS legislation in building and maintaining trust.
  • The particular trust challenges in the use of digital therapeutics.
  • The importance of learning from failures in building trust.

All three subgroups noted that trust is multifaceted and that it demands that the perspectives and needs of all stakeholders across the digital health ecosystem are considered — citizens, patients, healthcare professionals (HCPs), industry and policy makers. Each community must be engaged, heard, and nurtured, as losing the trust of one community could undermine trust for all.

Overarching Calls to Action    

  1. The development of the legislative framework of the EHDS must be supported by wider initiatives to help build and maintain trust in robust data governance and the quality of the data in the EHDS.
  1. Use international and European collaboration to ensure that the emerging digital therapeutics are accepted for use by professionals and bring true benefits for patients.
  1. Develop attitudes and environments  which support the open discussion of failures so all stakeholders can trust that lessons will be learned from mistakes in an effort to avoid future failures. 

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