Digital health has demonstrated its multiple advantages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge now consists in building on the momentum to continue exploiting the added value brought by digital technologies. Digital technologies can improve access to healthcare and help make health systems more responsive, resilient, and sustainable.[1] Digital transformation is also key to achieving high-quality patient care. It can help healthcare professionals support their clinical decisions, issue electronic prescriptions, keep track of medical stocks to prevent shortages, access medical records, and facilitate communication with patients through telehealth and mobile apps, thus alleviating some of the pressure put on the medical staff.

Digital technologies can also be employed to collect and generate real-world evidence, which can subsequently be used to draw evidence-based health policies and identify best practices. Lastly, digital tools provide the opportunity for patients to take their health into their own hands, thereby improving person-centred health care. While digital tools can connect and serve both patients and healthcare professionals, medicine should not lose sight of the social and human element in favour of digitalisation.[2]

To effectively uptake new technologies, health services thus need to find ways to organise and implement the use of digital solutions within their setting, while keeping in mind that it is people that drive change. The use of digital technologies as management tools also introduced new ways of working, with some questioning the impact of these technologies on the wellbeing of the staff.

The EHMA 2022 Annual Conference will therefore shed light on the following questions: How is digital technology, for example, AI, being used as a management tool? What is the impact of health data on decision-making at the managerial level? What are the advantages and challenges of adopting AI? How can health systems build trust in digital innovation? How can health systems better support citizens and the workforce to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital transformation?  

If you have carried out research on digital transformation and are interested in sharing your results with the health management community, then don’t forget to submit your abstract before Friday, 4 March at 17:00 CET. You will find all the relevant information on the EHMA 2022 Call for Abstracts here.

[1] European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Use of digital health tools in Europe: before, during and after COVID-19. Policy Brief 42
[2] European Health Management Association. EHMA 2021 Annual Conference Report