The 6th Annual Presidency Conference of the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine took place on 27-28 March. This year’s Conference was held under the theme “Personalised Medicine and the Big Data Challenge”. During his opening speech, Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner responsible for Health and Food Safety, emphasised the Commission’s initiatives to ensure that the health sector maximises Big Data's potential:
- European Reference Networks (ERNs) – ERNs are virtual cross-border networks with over 900 medical specialists working in more than 300 hospitals that help diagnose and treat patients suffering from rare and complex diseases. Big Data will contribute to their success by compiling fragmented health data sets, generating new data, and analysing this new information. The ERNs’ Clinical Patient Management System was launched last November.
- Health Technology Assessment (HTA) – Currently, the acceptance of "Real-World Data" by national HTA bodies across the EU varies, raising questions for health technology developers. The Commission's legislative proposal on HTA aims to harmonise the methodology and clarify the data requirements for assessment purposes. Ultimately, it will increase business predictability and reduce duplication among Member States. It will also improve patient access to innovative health technologies.
- High-Performance Computing – Earlier this year the Commission presented its plan to build, together with Member States, a world-class European supercomputer infrastructure. This is particularly relevant for the ERNs considering that real advancements in understanding, diagnosis and treatment of these diseases can only be achieved if all health data sets are linked and made accessible to researchers across the EU.
- Digital transformation of health and care – The Commission is also finalising its Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care that will support Member States' efforts to make greater use of digital solutions. The Communication will be structured around three pillars:
- Securing access to electronic health records and the
possibility of sharing this information across borders.
- Supporting data infrastructures for research, prevention,
and personalised medicine.
- Focusing on citizen empowerment and fostering person-centred
prevention and care in support of the wider use of mobile health and
Both the soon-to-be-published Commission Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care, and the initiative on High-Performance Computing may provide timely opportunities to position in silico medicine and CM&S in upcoming policy dossiers on EU level.