Digital Public Health Governance - navigating complex structures
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Leibniz Institut for Prevention Research and Epidemiology - BIPS GmbH, Bremen, Germany
Leibniz ScienceCampus Digital Public Health Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Institute for Information, Health and Medical Law (IGMR), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Ministry of Health Malta, Valletta, Malta
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Socia Policy, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A650
The COVID-19 pandemic is among society’s most severe crises this century. The rapid transmission speed has forced countries to adapt their national healthcare systems at an unprecedented rate, with digital health playing a crucial role in universal health coverage. However, to develop its full potential, appropriate governance structures should go along with mechanisms for egalitarian, sustainable, and high-quality systems and data to tap into their full potential for population health. Therefore, this workshop addresses the following objectives: Navigation complex structures – how could digital public health governance look? Digital public health encompasses, e.g., disease surveillance systems, electronic medical records, and social health insurance payment processes. An overview of the complex building blocks of the system and the coordination of stakeholders and policies to develop, implement, and maintain a well-functioning and comprehensive health system is needed. The workshop will show how complex the system is and what it entails and discuss the role of transparency, accountability, participation, and integrity in building such a system. Nothing without data – creating robust and scalable data pipelines and platforms: Developing robust and scalable “infostructures” requires backing robust data platforms designed to empower automated reporting and, better yet, federated analysis. Moving away from existing standard tools for static analysis, e.g., Microsoft Excel, to well-designed data pipelines and platforms requires basic understanding and advanced planning. This session will outline the available technology, a basic methodology that goes into understanding your current data sources, data pipeline planning, implementation techniques supported by a data strategy and understanding what an ideal data science team looks like. No data without proper informed consent – data protection in the digital age: Digital health systems and data pipelines are inseparably associated with data. Health data processing can serve public interests and benefit individuals and society significantly. Contrarily, data protection aims to protect personal data and is often identified as one of the main culprits for innovation. Undoubtedly, the philosophy of Open Data contradicts the basic principles of data protection – especially when the pandemic unveils a structural data problem in several countries. Nevertheless, the European Data Protection Law is not as insufficient as thought. Although the solution is often reduced to the so-called informed consent, the law is more flexible as perceived in practice. The session sheds light on new solutions and challenges, showing that harmonising data flow and data protection is not a mission impossible. Helping countries to learn - comparing digital public health systems: COVID-19 worked as a catalysator to further develop digital tools to support healthcare systems. Benchmarking strategies are crucial to save resources and progress faster during the transition. This talk will present the Digital Public Health Maturity Index, a tool to assess ones digital (public) healthcare system and compare it with another country. The index encompasses the technological and legal requirements, the society’s attitude towards using the applications, and the degree of implementation. The index displays the results as a score, allowing for country comparisons and thus encouraging improving their public health system and digital public health.  
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