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Think Tank 2020 Round Table Series: German Think Tank Report

The EIT Health Think Tank 2020 drove analysis into the potential of AI to transform healthcare across multiple European regions, and provided recommendations for greater acceptance and utility of AI within the field.

The EIT Health Think Tank brings healthcare leaders together to prepare the ground for life-changing innovation and identify the next opportunity for a step change in how healthcare is delivered. A primary format of engagement and discussion of relevant subjects and issues is within the Roundtable Series, organized on a CLC level. These regional meetings allow for discussions that focus on specific local needs, opportunities, and barriers, while also identifying successful solutions and examples of best practice that could be replicated at a European level.

This year’s Think Tank explored the topic of implementation of artificial intelligence in daily practice in the health sector. As part of the national picture of the state of the discussion within Europe, we were once again able to attract players who could shed light on the enormous range of the topic with their expertise. We are pleased to have again brought in a strong representation from the Baden-Württemberg region, as we were able to win over a renowned institute director of the KIT and a technology start-up from the KIT as well as digital change experts from service providers in the field of care (WBG Holding and Das Diakonische Werk der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden) for participation.

The event was based on the joint report published in March 2020 by EIT Health and McKinsey & Company entitled “Transforming healthcare with AI: the impact on the workforce and organisations”, which aims to contribute to the debate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare, but goes a step further to define the impact of AI on healthcare stakeholders and the implications of adopting and scaling AI for healthcare organisations and healthcare systems across Europe.

Given that AI in healthcare is a rapidly evolving field, the report provides a unique perspective from the front lines of healthcare and innovation today, as well as the latest view from a wide range of stakeholders on the potential of AI, the current state of play and what is holding us back from widespread implementation and adoption. As the report takes a broad pan-European perspective and identifies levers for change at the human, infrastructural and environmental levels, further exploration of how these findings and recommendations might be implemented at the national level is warranted.

As part of these activities, this year’s Think Tank Round Table discussion included decision-makers and key stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of AI approaches within existing national health systems, to provide opinions and potential solutions to help realise the full potential of AI.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Anke Diehl, Physician, Digital Change Manager of the University Hospital Essen and the following topics were discussed: Session I: Validation of barriers and prerequisites for the introduction of AI; Sessions II-V: How to improve the impact of AI in everyday life; Session III: Regulation and policy making – funding and reimbursement; Session IV: Strengthening data quality, governance, security and interoperability and Session V: Promoting the acceptance and benefits of AI in healthcare.

The discussions and findings have been documented in a report which is available to the public as a white paper (German only).

The consolidated version with the positions of all participating European countries is expected in early 2021 and will be edited and published by the EIT Health.

Some impressions from the participants:

“It was a lively discussion by a great panel of experts under the brilliant moderation of Dr. Anke Diehl.” Dr. -Ing. Julia Hoxha – Zana Technologies.

“The excellent discussions would not have been so good without your moderation! (Anke D.)”. Prof. Jan Alexandersson – German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

“It was very interesting for me too and complemented wonderfully with the event I had in the afternoon.” Christine Dehn – German Heart Foundation.

“I also found the round extraordinarily successful and it was great fun to be involved. The moderation by Ms Diehl was also a very good choice, as she is on fire for the topic and is also very well networked in the scene.” Freimut Schliess – Profil Institut.