Angela Brand, the seasoned academic with a colourful and broad spectrum of experience graciously accepted our invitation to interview her in the run up to the upcoming eHealth Tallinn conference.
I've noticed that you've got a strong academic background. How can industry, government and academia achieve synergy to help put forward the agenda of patient-centred healthcare?
Yes, I have an academic background, and I also worked for governments in Europe and the US.
Academia develops ideas and solutions for technical and social innovations. The technical ones are picked-up by industry, the social ones by governments. We are all “sitting in the same boat “, and we are all too slow in putting forward the agenda of patient-centred healthcare. What needs to improve the culture of co-development of this agenda (including the citizens/patients as the fourth active arm) and to implement something like “systematic early dialogue“.
What challenges are you facing in reaching the objectives of a European Good Governance model for citizen-owned and controlled data?
The technical solutions are there (blockchains and bitcoins, sandbox etcetera). The political commitment is there. What is missing is the implementation of a European Good Governance model.
But nobody wants transparency judging the various levels of quality. Also, there is “the mantra, the monstrance” of data protection and data security. And there is “protectionism” about keeping the own field and the fear of losing power. We need to understand the various interests; we need to define the new roles, we need to think about new incentives – the task ahead of us is immense, doable, but we need everybody!
What stories inspire you to continue your pioneering work within the field of Public Health Genomics? And how do you see it transforming Health I.T?
The combination of ‚omics’ and IT (including “big data analytics”) proofs the need for personal health and care ("personalised medicine “): this is a new approach to Public Health!
That journey needs a long-term vision; it needs some “stubbornness”, it requires patience with the public health community, and most important: it needs alliances with “thinkers alike”! The thinking of ideological public health people you will never change.
We've got the fantastic news that we will see you in Tallinn for DHS. Can you tell us more about your topic?
“A pan-European Good Governance Model putting the citizen in the driver’s seat is needed to make the best use of technological innovations and (health) data for individual benefit and the common good = (Health) Data Cooperatives”. This is a genuine bottom-up and democratic solution for Europe and beyond, - maybe the only one!
Earlier on this year, during eHealth Week in Malta, Dr.Jakab talked about the 'beautiful marriage' between Public Health and eHealth. As a Public Health Specialist, what work do we need to follow-up and outline in Estonia to ensure that this 'marriage' is a long-term success?
For a marriage, you need the “right bride “. eHealth is a first step in the right direction, but certainly not enough! We need to consider two main things:
- The need to think beyond health, beyond health data, and beyond IT solutions for health, and
- The “right” governance model in place, capturing future known and unknown developments and based on the various and different needs of all stakeholders, - we need (health) data cooperatives!
During my professional career, I had the fortune to experience a lot of technological innovations, - what I really would like to see happening during my lifetime is to experience the social innovation of data cooperatives owned and controlled by citizens. I would like to congratulate the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union for pushing this forward!
We invite you not to miss out on this incredible opportunity to listen and absorb Professor Brand’s insights and experience. Join us at eHealth Tallinn this coming October, less than a month away!