I S S U E S E V E N
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA Lwww.horizon2020projects.com
H E A L T H & P AT I E N T D ATA
There needs to be an enabling of investment, for
one. Plus there must be greater collaboration.
And, of course, with all this new technology,
education has to be stepped up.
Let us not forget that making the best use of
developments in healthcare is expensive and
difficult. There are issues in respect of
evaluation and approval at regulatory level –
which can seem to take an age – while, on
average, it takes more than €1bn to develop an
idea into a marketable, profitable product.
On top of this, it takes from 10-15 years to get
that product from bench to bedside. Valuable
time for the patient, who could be benefitting
from innovation much earlier. Regulators need
to get on top of this.
Our law and policy makers must also work
tirelessly to create an environment in which
potential investors feel confident in, among
other things, regulatory frameworks, the quality
of research, talented innovators and a growing
economy. We need these investors to put their
cash into building a healthy and wealthy
continent, now and in the future. Put simply,
better health for all means more productivity
and an increase in growth, quite aside from our
custodians’ moral and ethical obligations to
care for populations in the best way possible.
EU moves such as IMI and IMI2 (Innovative
Medicines Initiative) are helping this process
and involving more and more SMEs; which is
good for innovation and great for the economy.
However, despite the continuing growth of the
European Union down the decades, health and
healthcare systems – such as the UK’s National
Health Service – run their own show in what
remains a member state competence, and it is
clear that more collaboration is required to reap
the full benefits of not only Big Data, but
research and investment on a macroscale.
live in fast-changing times, with innovation
occurring all around us. Few areas are seeing this
more than the world of healthcare. Given
groundbreaking research, the emergence of so-called ‘Big Data’,
advances in gene technologies and more, these are exciting days for
Personalised medicine is coming greatly to the fore – the ability to give
the right treatment to the right patient at the right time – while new
developments in m-health, telehealth and ‘smart’ wearables are
delivering care outside hospitals while drinking up valuable data with an
Big Data is without doubt a massive part of the on-going revolution in
medicine. Used effectively, this data can fuel research, investment and
thus innovation while aiding prevention as well as personalised care in
a Europe of 28 member states and over 500 million potential patients.
All of this leads to a healthier and wealthier society as patients spend
less time in expensive hospital beds and doctors’ surgeries while taking
fewer days off work through illness.
Big Data to the fore
There are other paths to innovation in healthcare to be discussed later
in this article, but taking Big Data for now, there are of course many
questions to be answered regarding the collection, storage, sharing and
ownership of such data. These questions are not only technological and
practical, but also ethical.
Yet given that, when used alongside clinical and genomic information,
data can be used to gain insights into the genesis, progression and
treatment of diseases, there has never been a better time to place new
technologies and developments at the feet of all. Any problems need to
be solved, as it is vital to create the conditions for the wide-ranging
exploitation of data for the benefit of all patients.
At least it seems that incentives for data sharing are starting to emerge
with the possibility that, for example, data co-operatives – administrating
our personal information on our behalf – will be paid, with the co-op
members deciding which areas of research their data can go to and in
which areas of R&D the money should end up.
All fantastic stuff, potentially. But to create a real environment in which,
say, data and genetically driven personalised medicine can flourish,
several conditions must be met.
Innovation in healthcare
executive director of the European Alliance for Personalised
Medicine, reflects on the potential that personalised medicine holds for