Pharma execs join DigitalEurope’s new health council

Senior figures from GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Bayer, and Johnson & Johnson have been named to an 18-strong executive council for health at DigitalEurope – a trade association representing the tech industry.

The new council has been set up to help drive the adoption of digital approaches that could help deliver personalised care, improve disease monitoring and prevention, and potentially reduce costs for health systems across Europe.

Top of the agenda is developing a coordinated, harmonised approach to collecting and sharing health data among member states, enshrined in the EU’s plans to introduce a European Health Data Space.

The EHDS aims to improve exchange and access to different types of health data, including electronic health records, genomics data, and data from patient registries, for example.

Other priorities for the council include integration of artificial intelligence and data analysis in healthcare, as well as developing policy surrounding cybersecurity, wearable devices, precision medicine, and other emerging technologies.

It also wants to look at ways to increase access to emerging technologies and to boost funding, especially for smaller companies.

DigitalEurope director-general Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl (pictured top) said the council “will bring much-needed industry expertise and concrete success stories to help shape Europe’s health policy debate.”

“Our healthcare systems…have been strained by over a year of pandemic,” she added. “We cannot wait for the next health crisis to urgently upgrade our infrastructure, better use health data, and develop life-saving treatments and devices more quickly and efficiently thanks to digital technologies.”

Among the founding members are Lisa Banks, global head of digital innovation at GSK Vaccines, J&J’s chief information officer for EMEA Francesco Buonarroti, Bayer’s senior vice president of digital and commercial innovation Jeanne Kehren and Padraic Ward, head of pharma international at Roche.

Other members from the health sector include Padraig Monaghan, chief executive of United Health’s Optum Ireland and UK group, and Katrin Pucknat, president of ResMed Germany, plus representatives of three digital health start-ups – Climedo, Corti AI, and Oncompass Medicine.

Chief operating officer Veronika Schweighart from clinical data capture company Climedo, and the CEOs of digital patient consultation firm Corti AI and molecular diagnostics specialist Oncompass – Andreas Cleve and István Peták, respectively – are on the council to give the perspective of smaller digital health companies.

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