Health systems for the future – Making EU health systems resilient and innovative

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[Thursday, 08 June 2017] European Parliament:: Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Workshop: “Health systems for the future – Making EU health systems resilient and innovative.”

Presentation on: Data collection and information channels: the digital dimension of healthcare, by Dr Enrique BERNAL-DELGADO, Aragón Institute for Health Sciences (IACS), Zaragoza, Spain [presentation available in PDF at]

Key messages:
In 2020 healthcare professionals will be exposed to 200 times the amount of information the brain is able to manage. The amount of medical and health data grows exponentially. The vast majority of health system decision-makers do not even expend five hours per month to make sense out of them. Too much data! Nowadays, the big challenge for the health systems is to turn all this data into actionable knowledge.

There are many initiatives in Europe trying to achieve this goal. Many research and innovation projects, at different scales, are aiming to get value out of the health data (e.g., see BRIDGEHealth on One of these initiatives is ECHO ( a demonstration project built on routine data whose aim has been to inform decision-makers on unwarranted variations in health care performance. Big challenges in ECHO have been how to access data while accomplishing with national regulations on personal data protection, how to make data comparable across countries, how to develop performance indicators acceptable for different health systems, and how to implement analyses whose results are meaningful for decision makers.

Unfortunately, having successful projects available does not suffice to transform a healthcare organisation into a learning system. Some conditions are required to reach this goal; so, the pre-existence of an evaluative culture within the organization, the engagement of the key actors in the design, implementation and evaluation of the learning system, building capacity using learn-why learn-how activities, providing timely actionable feedback to end users, investing on data infrastructures capable of evaluating performance, and enough funding to keep the data infrastructure sustainable.

EchoHealth systems for the future – Making EU health systems resilient and innovative

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