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2021 Thought Leader EHTEL Symposium

Imagining a citizen-centric health data ecosystem: A quick overview

Today, Europe’s healthcare systems are already seeing a massive shift in the debate about the use of digital technologies and data. Movement is taking place from discussions about patients’ own access to their health and care data towards a new focus on citizen’s control of a variety of forms of data. Many questions are pending about citizens’ capacity to share their data and what they may get in return. On the horizon are many new data services and novel sources of data. The challenge is how to govern and regulate these world-changing developments from a European angle.

EHTEL’s 2021 Thought Leaders Symposium helped EHTEL members, friends, and the wider community to understand and potentially navigate and govern the future of European health data space, enable citizen-centric data sharing, and understand a variety of technical and societal developments. Key new trends in terms of digital health services and systems explored included medical devices, artificial intelligence (AI), and genomics.

This 2021 Symposium built on EHTEL’s associated journey towards Imagining 2029, and created synergies with the association’s 2021 four positions taken on the European Health Data Space.

Digital transformation is key. Each year of the upcoming period until 2030 incorporates potentially great changes in the health and care fields. In the surge to create citizen-centric health data ecosystems that are both caring and sharing, it is imperative to ensure that no-one gets left behind. “We should put patients and citizens at the heart of everything we do,” emphasised George Crooks of the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (Scotland), co-moderator of the Symposium.

The Symposium’s rich portfolio of individual presentations are now online.

In the spirit of knowledge exchange and education, each session can be viewed as stand-alone or as a series. Outcomes of some of the many, interactive ePolls held during the event, and of the discussions and debates held now feature on EHTEL’s web page. Plenty of resources – blogs, documents, and publications – which EHTEL members have suggested in relation to the Symposium’s topics are all available too. 


🧘 Stay healthy while online!

EHTEL believes firmly in the importance of good health, self-management of health, and improving health – even while massive amounts of people’s work is now done online. Therefore, not only were plentiful breaks built into the Symposium, but also one of the breaks included a short online yoga session. EHTEL’s own Luc Nicolas led the way!

Key statistics

At EHTEL’s 2021 Thought Leaders’ Symposium, there were:

- A concluding summary on “What does a citizen-centric data ecosystem mean?”.

📝To know more about the programme, the participants, and speakers, visit the Symposium event page

Sessions' summary


30 November 2021 | 14:00 - 17:30 


[1] Introduction: Citizen-centricity – going from digital to data

Cat Macauley, the Scottish Government, Scotland, United Kingdom









[2] Enabling citizens to be in better control of their data




Ernst Hafen, the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, Switzerland








Sharmini Alagaratnam , DNV, Norway









[3] Creating better health through citizens’ generated data




Saara Malkamaki, SITRA, Finland









Markus Kalliola, SITRA, Finland








 Dipak Kalra, i-HD, United Kingdom







 Mariana Meira, SPMS, Portugal







 Thomas Grandell, Etsimo Healthcare Oy, Finland








[4] Digital health solutions: Getting people on board




Michael Johansen, MedCom, Denmark











Bart de Gans, MedMij, The Netherlands









 Mike Ogonovsky, TEC Cymru & Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Wales, United Kingdom









1 December 2021 | 14:00 - 17:30 


[5] Day 2 Opening | Wrap-up of day 1



 [6] Digital Health Services, from innovation to prescription




Hannes Schlieter, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany









 Lloyd Humphreys, ORCHA, United Kingdom









 Marco Benedetto, Kelyon, Italy









[7] Artificial Intelligence for health – Hitting the reality wall




 Guido Panfili, Almawave, Italy











Rachelle Kaye, Assuta Medical Centers, Israel









 Panagiotis Bamidis, AUTH, Greece










[8] Forward-looking session - Genomics for digital health services




Lili Milani, Estonian Genome Centre, Estonia










Ivo Gut, CNAG-CRG, Spain