Unlocking the potential of digital health – POLITICO

Dr. Shibeshih Belachew, head of science, Biogen Digital Health | Via Biogen

Over the past few decades, the healthcare sector has seen disruptive digital advancements at all stages of patient care, from R&D to diagnosis and treatment, transforming the world. fundamental to the way we think about and deliver health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated this process, leading to the recognition that digital solutions are essential for patients and healthcare systems.

Dr. Shibeshih Belachew, head of science for Biogen Digital Health, of Biogen, the biotech company that has pioneered breakthroughs in neuroscience for over 40 years, explores how to combine biology and Technology can improve our understanding of neurological diseases. Digital health has tremendous potential to enable more personalized, prevention-focused care and improve our understanding of diseases to improve care for those living with conditions. neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The healthcare industry as a whole is transforming with the direct and indirect impact of technological innovation

Digital technology is transforming Europe’s healthcare sector and it is essential to regulate and drive policies to unleash transformative digital innovation in healthcare.

Q: What are the key trends in digital health?

ONE: Overall, the healthcare industry is transforming with the direct and indirect impact of technological innovation. For example, we are seeing a rise in the healthcare sector as it relates to people’s lives, with an increase in personalization, customer orientation, and data-driven, mobile care. dynamic and remote. We also see that the healthcare ecosystem as a whole is reshaping, amid global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and growing non-traditional participants including tech players. emerged and revolutionized healthcare, from R&D to the patient experience. Third, we are experiencing unprecedented breakthroughs in device technology and computer automation, such as machine learning and artificial neural networks, virtual reality solutions, and digital therapy. , is changing the face of modern healthcare.

Q: What can you tell us about the evolution of digital technology – specifically related to neuroscience?

ONE: Neuroscience is an area of ​​enormous unmet medical need and an area where Biogen has pioneered breakthroughs for over 40 years. Neurological diseases are complex, destructive and present significant challenges in their understanding, relative to the background of their paramount heterogeneity. This is partly due to the structural and functional complexity of the human central nervous system. It is also due to limitations on how, as a society, we currently study, discover, and monitor brain and neurological diseases, largely based on subjective information and based on human observation. Let’s take Parkinson’s disease as an example. Because the signs and symptoms of this degenerative nervous system disorder often develop slowly, it can be difficult for doctors to recognize progression of the disease in its early stages. Typically, neurologists will ask patients to perform motor tasks and walk across their office to observe symptoms of subtle motor delays or gait difficulties, which are mostly does not provide enough data for identification.

Neuroscientists can collect months’ worth of physiological and behavioral data in minutes

However, by using quantifiable digital sensor data (also known as digital biomarkers), neuroscientists can gather physiological and behavioral data. vi is worth monthly in minutes, highlighting how an individual’s gait can develop over time. When combined with AI-powered pattern detection, neuroscientists have access to a wealth of insights into clinical patients – potentially allowing them to detect signs of Parkinson’s disease at an early stage. earlier section.

Q: What is the role of policymakers in unleashing the power of digital health?

ONE: True innovation in digital health requires strong evidence generation, often involving large-scale, multinational, multilingual, and sometimes multi-device clinical trials. Biogen believes that optimizing the use and applicability of these digital tools will require an agile, progressive regulatory framework for which digital health technologies can be enabled. through the establishment of collaborative models and accompanying the development of joint guidance by medical device and medical regulatory authorities. Indeed, harmonizing medical device requirements for digital health technologies is essential across different Member States to reduce ambiguity and inconsistencies in research. save digital health. Policymakers and regulators need to ensure that regulatory frameworks are standardized and forward-looking.

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