Reflections on the Internet of Health Conference, Amsterdam

Posted: 04/10/2017

The past eighteen months have seen us making tremendous headway in the digital health arena in Jersey. Last year we put the building blocks in place s...

The past eighteen months have seen us making tremendous headway in the digital health arena in Jersey. Last year we put the building blocks in place so that earlier this year we were able to launch a digital health strategy for our island, in conjunction with the Health department. With a clear framework in place, we are now able to take the next steps and so in September, myself, our digital health advisor, Andrew Frith and four Digital Jersey member companies, went to the Internet of Health Conference in Amsterdam. Our aim was to start putting Jersey on the map as well as to learn from our European counterparts.

Joining me in Amsterdam were representatives from Zuri, TSG, C5 and JT. The conference featured high quality speakers with the corresponding networking opportunities among attendees, and while one of the aims was obviously to develop exports from our island, importantly it focused on the three core areas of our digital health strategy: interoperability, electronic health records and the Internet of Things.

We are on the right tracks

One of our biggest take-aways was the affirmation that what we are doing here, the foundations we’ve put in place with the digital health strategy, are the right aspirations. We heard from many other European countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany, who are deploying exactly the same approach to care records and infrastructure. While we have always believed in the path we are building, it was good to have it confirmed.

We are also on time

If there was any fear that we are lagging behind in this space in any way then the conference has shown that we are in fact not only keeping up with other countries, but our smaller size and agility will mean we are likely to implement improvements before them.

We are blazing a trail

One of our aims was to not only showcase the Jersey companies who came with us, but to also showcase the island itself. All of those we spoke to were genuinely shocked at the amount of underlying technology we have in the island. By next year we will have gigabit fibre to every home which will be a fantastic opportunity for developing patient at home experiences and connecting our healthcare system. With only one other country in the world able to boast such connectivity (South Korea), the opportunities for providers to come and test their solutions in our sandbox Jersey was clear to all.

Making connections

A lot of the care records and public facing portals being proposed are based on the Danish model. We met with the people who have been at the forefront of implementing this. They have offered an open invitation for us to go to Denmark and look at what they’ve done; not only in terms of their portals and care records, but also their Innovation Council which develops solutions in partnership – all aimed at keeping the patient out of the hospital. This is something we are very interested in doing here in Jersey as at present there is no framework to be able to drop innovative ideas into our health system. We are in discussions with the health department to create a framework similar to the one in Denmark and it’s looking very positive.

And finally back home…

When we returned home we launched straight into Jersey’s Future Health Technology Summit, which saw a trio of experts from the UK. This event saw well over two hundred people attending, which was a clear sign of the interest and appetite for change in Jersey’s healthcare. These speakers were all about open standards and data sharing to enable interoperability. It’s clear that this is key to progressing in this area.

We’ve had an extremely positive couple of weeks which have clarified and reinforced our digital health strategy and highlighted the many opportunities we have here in Jersey. It’s time now for us to continue the work in implementing that strategy for the benefit of the whole island.

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