GHP May 2017

30 GHP / May 2017 , Future of healthcare is being ‘connected’ to drive faster collaboration ByMiikka Kiiski, Director of WatsonHealth Center, Helsinki, Finland The future of healthcare is founded on even faster collaboration. A bold statement, but an absolute reality, and very much a fact of modern life. But before I alarm you with such a sense of urgency, let me reassure you mankind is definitely taking the right steps to embrace collaboration. Now we just need to speed up the process, and thankfully help is at hand, not just from technology, but from government, and from public and private companies and organisations working together for a common good. So first for some context, the situation is as follows. In the European Union (EU) the percentage of the population over 65 will increase by 80 per cent in the next 25 years. How is our current approach to tackling healthcare going to handle an ageing population and the resultant rise in chronic disease? Added to this, today we are seeing elderly people become dependent not only on their GP but multiple specialists. All stakeholders involved in healthcare are well aware of the ticking time bomb of our ageing world with demand exceeding supply even within the most affluent of countries. In addition to this, there are some pretty concerning statistics on diseases and healthcare issues that contribute to the aforementioned problem. Cancer alone is the second leading cause of death globally, and the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70 per cent over the next two decades. Technology – fast tracking healthcare solutions Increasingly, the health community has recognised that designing the solutions for growing healthcare problems require the patient to be at the centre of the process, and that technology developments will be the linchpin of the preventive, predictive and collaborative treatments necessary to overcome the failures of our current systems. Great strides have been taken to identify how technology can help the healthcare community better deal with today’s healthcare challenges. The digitisation of patient data, combined with powerful data driven insights from technology that can not only process larger volumes of data but actually gain valuable insights from the data is definitely making an impact. Technology is also allowing for greater healthcare collaboration as doctors and researchers can share health data with scientists, engineers, researchers and designers to develop a new generation of data-driven healthcare applications and solutions, as well as advancing R&D. It’s not just more volume of data available, but more sharing of data, and more data driven insights coming from greater collaboration, the so- called connected healthcare. Whilst big technology companies have been developing big data and artificial intelligence solutions to help progress connected healthcare, start-ups continue to populate the app stores with resources to aid self-care. The potential for AI in healthcare stretches to not only a quicker diagnosis and referral for patients, but also offers the ability to set more effective and personalised treatment plans for patients. With the digitalisation of patient records for example, not only will we be able to diagnose better, but the patient information will be easier to share so we will be able to foster collaboration and partnerships between the whole ecosystem of doctors, data scientists and startups. We still lack, however, a holistic outlook that can scale up to the immensity of the challenge that will be staying healthy in a world that is ever more densely populated and older. This requires bringing the disruptive technologies and design practices currently concentrated in the private sector, into our public health services where there is a much higher barrier to adoption—primarily due to security concerns, budgeting restraints and complicated bureaucracies. Finland – a new national approach to connected healthcare In September 2016 the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) and IBM announced a partnership to enable Finland to utilize Watson cognitive computing to help doctors improve the health of its citizens, and strengthen and develop the Finnish innovation and business ecosystem in the fields of health and well-being. To facilitate this collaboration, IBM established a Watson Health Center in Finland, the first in Nordic. Finland has a real opportunity to speed up collaboration through connected healthcare. The country has a unique health ecosystem characterized by full electronic health records and nation-wide access to healthcare, in addition to the close co- operation among public and private sector entities working in health and wellness. Finland is also a European forerunner in designing new legislation for secondary and secure use of data on well-being and health. Enabling regulation is believed to open new opportunities for research, development and innovations. In the new center Finnish doctors and researchers will work with Watson Health data scientists, engineers, researchers and designers to develop a new generation of data-driven cognitive healthcare applications and solutions. For example, the University of Jyväskylä in Central Finland aims to use Finnish health and well-being data to develop applications on the Watson Health Cloud, with the aim of improving the healthcare