08 June 2017
- Healthcare, - Medicines

Updating and upgrading EFA priorities 2020. AGM, Florence, 22May 2017

Stanimir Hasurdjiev, Patient Access Partnership PACT and European Patient’s Forum representative presented on patient involvement in European policy and initiatives on access to care and patient participationwithin the European Union Institutions.  Roberta Savli, from the Health and Environment Alliance, spoke about the latest initiatives linking health and environment.  Marie Agnes Heine, Head of the Communication Department at the European Medicines Agency focused on how social media can enable engaging people and institutions as well as promoting dialogue with patients.  Finally Tanja Valentin, MedTech Europe Director Government Affairs & Public Policy provided a technical approach on the medical devices development and ehealth topics. This global approach was preceded by a roundtable discussion with the speakers and audience and different workshops on care, prevention, environment and research.

More EU cooperation

The EU is facing common challenges: from an aging population and increased chronic disease to health inequalities and the sustainability of health systems. Leaning on these facts Stanimir Hasurdjiev, from the Patient Access Partnership PACT and European Patient’s Forum, assured that now is a good moment to cooperate on health on the ground. “Health and the EU is a success story” he said as a “70% of Europeans would like the EU to act more on health than it does now” according to the Eurobarometer in 2017.

With an online and offline campaign, the European Patient Forum raises awareness about the real need of patients empowerment to drive better health in Europe as well centralising the need of the universal access to health coverage by 2030, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. Finally, the European Union should reduce inequities in access to quality health care. 

See Stanimir presentation here

Urgent action on our environment

The future of health in Europe is intimately linked to environment as climate change and other human activities modify our environment, forcing us to adapt. In this sense, Roberta Savli from Health and Environment Alliance highlighted the urgent objectives for next decades. To begin with the toxic free and phase out of mercury by 2020. On a medium term, to improve our air quality by 2030 and to phase out of coal-fired power plants by 2040. And in the longer term, to reach 100% renewable energy in all member states by 2050. 

See Roberta presentation here.

Social media to facilitate information and dialogue with regulatory authorities

Marie Agnes Heine, from the European Medicines Agency spoke about how social media is transforming patient participation. To her, digital tools are an opportunity, using media channels facilitates engagement and dialogue with patients. But there are also a risks and challenges. First of all, social media multiplies fake news or information that is not evidence-based and is difficult to track and follow up social media results. In addition, the artificial intelligence and big data opportunities are bringing up new ways for development on healthcare but at the same time there is a risk related to patients’ data privacy. She also gave an overview of the impressive number of patients and patient representatives that the Agency involved up to 700 times in 2016.

See Marie-Agnes presentation here.

eHealth, an ally for patients and healthcare professionals

Our guest speakers’ session finished up with Tanja Valentin, Director of Government Affairs & Public Policy from MedTech Europe, who brought up the growing trend of ehealth. She focused on the advantages of digitalisation for real time monitoring and self-management, by using mobile applications, electronic health records or genomic medical devices; and reducing inequalities and healthcare costs, increasing access to quality healthcare, among others, as long as they are responsible, user-friendly and bring real solutions to real needs and problems.

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