Frédéric Destrebecq, Vinciane Quoidbach and Marijn Scholte from The European Brain Council (EBC) detail how the future of healthcare and improved brain health can be achieved through implementing digital health technology.

The European Brain Council (EBC) is a Brussels-based organisation that gathers patient associations, major brain-related societies, as well as industries, with a mission to promote brain research in Europe to improve the quality of life of those living with brain disorders in Europe. As they join the eHealth conversation and digital technologies continue to develop at a rapid pace, plus the fact that the use of health data continues to widen, EBC firmly believes that the future of healthcare and improved brain health can only be achieved through implementing digital health technology that is properly designed. EBC, therefore, aims to join the forerunners in the digital movement. Brain health’s digital future is clearly on its way.

Despite the unprecedented scientific progress made in recent years, there is still no cure for a wide range of brain disorders, though effective treatments do enable faster recovery and better outcomes. Against this backdrop, EBC recently launched a Policy White Paper on the “Value of Treatment (VoT) for Brain Disorders in Europe”, which provides a series of policy recommendations to address the unmet medical needs of people living with brain conditions. The VoT study highlighted the importance of using eHealth tools for solving issues associated with treating brain disorders and that the proliferation of digital health tools, including mobile health apps and wearable sensors, has the potential to greatly improve the prevention and management of brain disorders.

EBC aims to further explore the potential of eHealth for addressing challenges associated with brain disorders and has in this context contributed to the drafting of the Digital Health Society Declaration and provided input to the public consultation on Health and Care in the Digital Single Market. It is crucial for organisations, such as EBC, that a Europe-wide regulatory framework gets implemented, allowing stakeholders to fully harness the advantages of digitalisation.

In this regard, EBC believes policymakers need to prioritise action in a certain number of areas such as health data sharing, mobile interventions or digital literacy. A recent report highlighted several potential benefits associated with the use of health data for research purposes, such as reduced duplication of research, the greater external validity of research and more opportunities to reveal patterns of causation (a result of linking datasets).  It is important that decision-makers set clear future policy objectives in the domain of digital health and further explore opportunities for progressing the digital transformation of care delivery, to the benefit of millions of Europeans living with brain disorders.

 

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