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“PERSISTent to fight cancer, whatever I.T. takes” – А successful and productive event for PERSIST took place in the EU Parliament

In the Cancer Awareness Month the PERSIST consortium organized a hybrid event in the European Parliament on October 13, 2022. Among other objectives, the event aimed to raise awareness and improve the understanding among stakeholders on the key benefits from project PERSIST and other projects alike, but also to encourage the long-term commitment and engagement of policymakers and stakeholders on supporting and further developing similar projects.

The event was supported by the MEP Tiemo Wölken, Co-chair of the MEP Interest Group on Equitable Access to Healthcare. In his welcoming video message MEP Wölken stated the following: “Medical innovation has always been important for human development and the digitalization of the field has huge potential for patients, professionals and society. However, digital technologies also come with significant risk, which needs to be addressed through legislation. People need to be able to trust AI algorithms. AI systems need to be neutral and fair in order to ensure a non-biased and non-discriminatory outcome.”

The event was moderated by Dr. Stanimir Hazardzhiev, Director General of the National Patient’s Organization.

Alberto Sánchez, coordinator of PERSIST from GRADIANTpresented the impact of PERSIST for patients, medical specialists and caregivers. He emphasized on the added value of PERSIST, which includes better understanding of cancer survivorship​, reference and guidelines for survivors care strategies​, development and validation of new technology tools​, interoperable and scalable data platform​, AI models , liquid biopsy, applications and interaction models​, patient engagement and empowerment​.  ​

Marcela Chavez from CHU de Liege, a clinical partner in PERSIST, presented the value of data in PERSIST and specified the types of data PERSIST collects and how these can increase the Quality-of-Life of Cancer Survivors. She also made a demonstration of PERSIST mHealth and mClinician apps.

Tom Flynn from the TFC Research and Innovation Limited​, also a coordinator of the CS_AIW Cluster, presented the cluster and the matter of the collaboration which focuses on key areas including patient Quality-of-Life, clinical, technical and business issues as collectively determined by its members.​ “We learn together and from each other. We don’t work in silo!” Mr. Flynn stated. ​

The panel on Reflections on the digitalization in Europe, in light of the Cancer awareness month included three speakers. Emanuelle Huck, a programme/policy officer at DG CONNECT of the European Commission spoke about the digitalization and cancer. She stated that digital technologies have value across the key pathway from prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment and further Quality-of-Life of patients and survivors. She presented the European Health Data Space, which will facilitate the sharing of data, and the Health in Digital Europe Work Program 2021-2022. Mrs. Huck gave examples of AI-based tools and methods for advancing personalized prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment and care and monitoring of patients.

Geert Thienpont, Managing Director i~HD talked about the importance of health data for cancer care and research. He stated that patients want to use digital health tools and analysed the spectrum of data use – from individual level health data, through population level health date to big health data.

The patient perspective was presented by Aleksandra Kaczmarek, Policy Manager of Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE). She stressed on the important of security of health data and of data interoperability. Digital health eco-system should be patient centered​, should ensure policy and data cohesion to create a truly functional single market for digital health data​, make health data accessible for all and protect misuse of health data.

Watch the full record from the event here:

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