Patients’ Digital Health Awards opens for applications from patient-centric digital health projects

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Patients’ Digital Health Awards opens for applications from patient-centric digital health projects


The Patients’ Digital Health Awards (PDHA) has begun welcoming entries for its 2020 contest, which places patients at the forefront of innovation.

As part of a common effort to make healthcare be about patients, not technologies or companies, the Awards’ organisers – the Digital Health Academy and MSD Foundation – have made sure patients have an active role in the initiative.

During the PDHA evaluation process, patients are the ones to give feedback and evaluate the projects: the Awards’ Committee is composed of 50 Patient Associations together with digital health experts.

This model is a marked divergence from other similar competitions, where entries are usually assessed by healthcare experts or professionals only. It also means that the contestants get an opportunity to interact with the patients directly and follow the patients’ user path when they are getting treatment. This setup helps to achieve the overall goal of making digital health solutions more human and patient-centric.

PDHA accepts applications from digital health startups and innovators as well as individuals, IT or service companies and healthcare providers and foundations. The projects or ideas eligible for the Awards should be designed to level up the digital experience of the patients, consequently improving the quality of people’s care and life.

Previous award winners make up a diverse portfolio of digital health solutions. A few examples are:

  • An interactive platform that allows people to conduct rehabilitative therapy at home and is designed to meet the needs of the children who have suffered brain damage with motor-level impacts
  • A digital platform that uses blockchain technology to store and share health data in a secure way, reducing the time and risks of data management.
  • A communication device enabling people suffering from diseases such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophies of various kinds to cope with motor and communication disabilities.

The awards have been running since 2018, and the 2020 edition has been adjusted to our post-pandemic reality – with the aim of giving additional visibility to Covid-related digital health solutions for the benefit of the whole healthcare ecosystem.

But this new thematic focus is not the only change for this year. Naturally, workshops with Patients Associations and the Award Ceremony will be held remotely. This also allows PDHA to expand its geographical presence, and the awards are now available not only for Italian projects but also for entries from across Europe. To support this move, we’ve also made sure more patient associations from Europe are involved in the initiative.

PDHA and our associated patient organisations also support and advocate for the HUMAN approach to digital health. In the HUMAN acronym each letter stands for a way to optimise uptake and usage of digital health: health literacy, uncomplicated, meaningful, authentic, natural.

To highlight the practical value of this approach, patient associations have recently prepared and published the white paper A New Humanism for Digital Health, which provides recommendations on the implementation of digital health solutions from patients’ perspective.

“Promoting a HUMAN digital health transformation is at the core of what we do," said Claudia Rutigliano, scientific coordinator at MSD Italy Foundation. "That’s why we are proud of our strong commitment in supporting the Patients’ Digital Health Awards since its first edition, striving to put patient needs first."

The applications for the Patients’ Digital Health Awards are open till the 24 September 2020 (further details can be found on the related PDHA website section). All eligible projects and ideas are encouraged to apply and provide input into the promotion of patient-centricity in digital health.

About the author

Antonietta Pannella is marketing & communications Director at Healthware GroupShe is an expert in digital health and innovation with nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and communication, business transformation and open innovation processes. Antonietta is responsible for corporate brand, content and digital marketing, social media, internal communications and media relations. She also leverages her knowledge and skills on conceiving and organizing corporate and digital health related events, including Frontiers Health, the leading global conference on healthcare and innovation. Her content marketing expertise and passion for digital health led her to be founding advisor of the Digital Health Academy and the Digital Health Global and Digital Health Italia blogs.

18 September, 2020