The director of Farmaindustria’s Research Department, Pedro Luis Sánchez, participates in the conference Personalised digital care and the European Health Data Space, a meeting of experts organised within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Digital applications are now an integral part of people’s lives and the healthcare sector is no stranger to this. In recent years, moreover, the emergence of new technologies has boosted the possibilities of this type of solution for improving health.
This is the framework for digital therapies, a concept that includes applications or other programmes that interact with patients to prevent, manage or treat illnesses and that allow them to be monitored between visits to their doctor. In addition, they generate data that is incorporated into the medical record and can contribute to the generation of real world data (RWD).
The director of Farmaindustria’s Research Department, Pedro Luis Sánchez, spoke about this issue this Friday at the conference Personalised digital care and the European Health Data Space, a meeting of experts organised within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Artificial intelligence and technology are driving digital therapies, which benefit not only patients, but also the healthcare system and society as a whole,” said the Farmaindustria spokesperson, who presented the challenges and opportunities in this field during the debate on “Digital devices and healthcare applications”. Also taking part in the debate were Barbara Höfgen, from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices; Roger Lim, expert policy coordinator at the European Health Data Space in the Netherlands, and Andoni Lorenzo, president of the Spanish Patients’ Forum.
The benefit of these applications is visible in the short term, in the form of improved adherence, new diagnostic options or even boosting the effectiveness of medicines through combined approaches. But there are also other more visible medium-term benefits that are just as important as personalised medicine, as digital therapies allow for the collection and analysis of data that can define specific patient needs.
“The most direct beneficiaries of digital therapies are patients, who can improve their experience and health outcomes by motivating habits or encouraging home treatments, among other options. But the benefits of using these applications are also felt by healthcare professionals, who can have greater access to and monitoring of treatments and patient responses. All of this ultimately benefits the system, as they can contribute to reducing the burden of care, thanks to increased prevention and fewer visits to healthcare centres,” says Pedro Luis Sánchez.
The extent and role that these digital therapies will play in the near future will be highly conditioned by the commitment of the public administration. Currently, Germany is the European country that is most advanced in the incorporation of these therapies, as it is the only one that contemplates a specific means of public funding. As the Director of Farmaindustria’s Research Department explains, France is also working on a similar funding channel and other countries such as Belgium, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands have shown willingness to provide this funding.
One of the potentialities of using these applications, the generation of evidence in real life, was also discussed this week by the director of Farmaindustria’s Research Department at the National Congress on innovation through the use of health data, held in Seville on 26 and 27 September.
“Data from clinical trials cover a small percentage of patients and it is critical to make maximum use of existing data,” said the Farmaindustria spokesperson, who defends the opportunities presented by real-life data to “improve the understanding of diseases, the monitoring of treatments, the procedures for evaluating new drugs and the evidence of healthcare systems”.
Pedro Luis Sánchez presented Spain’s position in this field at this forum, as well as the initiatives that are promoting the secondary use of data, such as the health data lake or the European Health Data Space.