We look at the upcoming eHealth conference in Tallinn in October, and ask: why now?

Posted on: 27.09.2017

There is a compelling argument that says that, the one thing the world does not need right now -is yet another eHealth Conference. God knows we have had enough of those already. The argument goes along the lines of: “well, if we haven’t instigated our plans for eHealth by now -then we never will.” Another “talking shop” will not change that.

And that is the problem. Conferences are perceived as talking places, but not “doing” places. We go to conferences to learn. We do not go to actually “do”. As the older lady said to me as I finished moderating in Malta - “I’ve been to two hundred of these events Richard. When will someone act on them?”  All of which, for most conferences, misses the point, until now.

How the eHealth Tallinn conference can make the difference?

Because “eHealth Tallinn 2017”, will go deep into how Estonia has already delivered a fully digital and entirely transparent eHealth scenario, across its entire population. Delivered as part of Estonia’s presidency of Europe at this time, this Conference is not about how we would like to do something. This is about how they have already done so.

This practical focus is the difference. There are more IT “Start-Ups” per head of population in Estonia, than in any other European country. This is the land that gave us Skype. It is the beta test area for the rest of us.

The clue is in the single-minded focus of its Management, to avoid lengthy decision making processes, and in that respect is similar to Turkey, who are equally ahead of the rest of Europe when it comes to pan-population access to patient data and innovative ways of handling and financing domestic healthcare.  Consensus is a great thing, but not always the best thing, when there is a need for leadership, and actually “delivering”.

eHealth Tallinn will not be a forum for consumer and community driven healthcare; there are other opportunities for that have a more philosophical and longer term vision. And in many ways this progress has slipped unnoticed by the rest of Europe. This Tallinn meeting point is for those of you who need practical solutions, that work, that have been tried and tested. God knows we could do with more of these.

Richard Bloss

Managing Editor