PHIRI is glad to invite you to this round table co-organised by Sciensano, EUPHA Public health monitoring and reporting section, EUPHA Foresight section & EUPHA Public health Epidemiology section. The event is powered by EUPHA and co-funded by the European Union. The video of the event is now available online here!
There has never been another moment in living history when there was such an unprecedented thirst for and avid consumption of health information (data and knowledge) than the COVID-19 pandemic. During this crisis, the speed with which health information was produced was not rapid enough to properly support health decisions. This was particularly challenging for policy making, as the evidence during the pandemic evolved rapidly and was further complicated by political agendas.
Meanwhile, ways and means have been found to satisfy the changing needs, at least partially. Open data repositories have mushroomed all over the world and websites or dashboards displaying health data and indicators that were previously practically unknown became reference points for the media, the general public, patients, researchers and policy makers.
The general public as well as the patients have been heavily exposed to health information. Epidemiological principles and jargon have entered common parlance. The democratisation of health information was coupled with a parallel infodemic, an overwhelming amount of information, including mis- and disinformation, making it more difficult for individuals and communities to separate scientific facts and guidance from manipulative, emotionally charged or inaccurate content.
Furthermore, the IT tools that have been developed during this pandemic and secondary use of certain data for various purposes has grown at a much faster rate than before.
Have we been able to figure out our strengths in guiding health decisions and also COVID-19-related policies? Have our weaknesses been exposed further? What are the lessons learned for better preparedness for the unexpected? How could this new reality shape the future demand for health information analysis, reporting and knowledge translation in a post-pandemic world?
This round table discussion aims to reflect on the opportunities and threats posed by this new reality and on the ways to improve preparedness and health information systems in Europe. Four panellists will participate in the discussion, with different perspectives: the policy making and advisory perspective; the general public and patient perspective; and the future perspective for the post-pandemic era. Speakers will present how they experienced this change of consumption of health information during the COVID-19 crisis, the lessons learned or good practices they have identified, and what can be improved and set up for the future European Health Data Space and health information system.
Common themes from the participants will become a frame for the Q&A. The audience will have the opportunity to interact with the panellists and to submit questions for discussion.
- Petronille Bogaert, EUPHA PHMR section and EU HIS unit, Sciensano, Belgium
- Neville Calleja, Directorate for Health Information and Research, Ministry for Health, Malta
Policy making perspective:
- Elena Petelos, lecturer in evidence-based medicine and evidence-informed policy, and senior research fellow in public health at the University of Crete and Maastricht University. Member of the Advisory Forum of the European Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).
- Walter Ricciardi was initially announced, but can unfortunately not be present.
General public and patient perspective:
- Gözde Susuzlu, project coordinator of the European Patients’ Forum “Data saves lives” initiative which aims at raising wider patient and public awareness about the importance of health data, exploring societal questions about the uses of health data and supporting stakeholder dialogue, with a view to enhancing trust, cooperation and good practices.
Post pandemic/ future perspective:
- Irini Kessisoglou, researcher and project manager in the EU Health Information Systems unit at Sciensano (Belgium). Task leader in several European projects, such as the HealthData@EU pilot project, the Joint Action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) and the HealthyCloud project.