Latvia becomes the 19th EU country to join eHealth cooperation for personalised healthcare

On 12 November Latvia signed the European Declaration on linking genomic databases across borders that aims to improve understanding and prevention of disease and allow for more personalised treatments, in particular for rare diseases, cancer and brain related diseases.

The Declaration is an agreement of cooperation between the countries that want to provide secure and authorised cross-border access to national and regional banks of genetic and other health data, in accordance with all EU data protection rules.The goal is also to keep the EU at the global forefront of personalised medicine, at the same time as fostering scientific output and industrial competitiveness. Latvia is the 19th signatory of the Declaration, which was originally launched on 10 April 2018 during the Digital Day. The other EU Member States that have signed it are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In April 2018, the Commission put forward an action plan to secure healthcare data while fostering European cooperation.

The interesting point is ironic; At a time of apparent Brexit confusion, the UK, with it’s Genomics England agency – is one of the leaders in genomics understanding and promotion. and three of the key protagonist countries in Europe – Belgium, Germany, France – are not on the list of signatories to the above declaration. 

Don’t you just love it?

Lucia Di Lammermoor. A Story for Our Times


We review the English National Opera first night of this dramatic Donizetti masterpiece and say that – in the “MeToo” current world,  this is a production you have to see.

There are academic articles and opinions of the role of women and heroines and Prima Donnas in Opera, into which the creation of “Lucia” as an Opera, is designed to play a part.  This comment is not one of those. If you “get” that the fusion of music, and drama, is the key entry into deeper areas of  our soul – then the standout performance of Sarah Tynan as “Lucia” is one of the most phenomenal performances I have ever seen in all my years of watching opera.  This is a performance that you have to see, and you must say to your grandchildren that “you were there”.

How so?

Because Sarah’s interpretation rises above the protagonists around her, the wall of never decreasing orchestral and chorus support. It is a tour de force because right from the start, there was never any gentle introduction. There is angst even from the first scene. There was never going to be a happy ending.

This feeling of tragic helplessness, is enhanced by the oversized dimensions of the staging, with Lucia deliberately petite, vulnerable.

This “Lucia di Lamermoor” is drama supported by music. In many ways, the music never reaches the heights of melody of Mozart – or better insight into human nature of say Puccini, or Berlioz – and at times I just wished there was a melody that I could remember on the tube train back to my hotel. The music frequently pauses and moves into one aria after another, but it is not until the last Act does Lucia’s aria steal the show, so to say.

But this misses the point.

This production, particularly with Eleazar Rodriguez complementing Sarah with visible chemistry, is about drama and human emotion. It is riveting. At no point does the intensity ever stop, and at no time does audience appreciation ever waver. 

If you asked random people in the street, who would be their favourite composer – the name of Donizetti would hardly figure. And this is a pity. “Lucia” portrays humanity and the female situation, in a way that has hardly changed even now. I am going back to see this again – and so should you.

Is it OK to Talk to Each Other?


We look at the growth of interest in IQPC Exchange business networking and ask – after years of not talking to anybody, is it now Ok for our corporate leaders to engage with actual people? We report from back from the Chief Data Officer event a few days ago in London.


Absolutely it is. The problem has always been one of habit and even avoidance. Those of you who make corporate decisions have become immune to the deluge of unsolicited emails, and it had bred a culture of avoidance rather than working together.


Yet after decades of difficulty in getting traction, the reality of life has hit home and corporates are now waking up to the fact that talking with people, sharing ideas, saves making mistakes, following wrong paths, and getting faster where you want to be. In short – things have changed.
This is not the first time that the IQPC company have been spreading this gospel; their Exchange programme of events has been running for several years. But our recent visit to the Hurlingham Club and the Chief Data Officer conference for financials – was the first time we have noticed that leading decision makers are not afraid to interact. It is an important milestone.


The Exchange format focuses on a simple reality that bringing people together – vendors with corporates – decision makers with influencers – enables a sharing of experience. It allows corporates to focus on vendors who have something beneficial to say; and it gives vendors a platform to say “hey, we may have something that can help you!”
But that in itself is nothing new. The IQPC secret sauce is the understanding that the location of an Exchange venue, has to have sufficient private areas, gardens where people can take time out, multiple coffee spaces – that can facilitate naturally the sort of intuitive discussion that business leaders need for private communication.


In the three hours that we spent at the CDO event – we had insightful discussions with over a dozen high level directors, vendors and corporates, from all parts of UK and Europe.


For Exchange to work, there has to be a willingness on all sides to want it to work, and the apparent informality belies the work that goes on and preparation from all participants, to share knowledge. But the benefits are clear. We expect to see more of these events in the future.

ENO; OPERA FOR ALL. It has always been thus…


We look with pleasure and amazement at the past 50 years of English National Opera  at their Gala Performance earlier this week.


I am fifteen years old. My cousin – who is at least five years older and a real Student – calls me. “Hey – I have two tickets for The Mastersingers. Wanna come?”


I don’t know what a Mastersinger is – and I say so. “It’s an Opera”, he says. I don’t know what one of those is either, but now is not the time for that discussion. “Sure” – I say: – “I’ll come straight from school”. The performance starts at 5pm apparently. It means catching the suburban bus, the local train into london, the tube to Islington. The place is somewhere called Sadlers Wells.


I hadn’t given much thought to this. Only when I got to the opera venue did I realise that The Mastersingers is some five hours long. It means hitching a ride back home through London. A local taxi picked me up somewhere in the street as I started walking. I’m sure there are laws about this sort of thing nowadays. I told my Mum the next morning I had a wonderful time.


I didn’t have a wonderful time. I had a change of life experience. I saw people singing and creating a life ambience – from nothing. I felt emotions I never knew existed. I discovered I could go to the pub on the corner and buy a shandy, no questions-asked. I could wear my jeans at somewhere posh. I could visualise a new musical dimension.


My cousin called me some 50 years later. “Did you get those tickets for the new production of The Mastersingers?.” This time, we are the ENO Coliseum, the grandeur, the sense of a journey as the orchestra starts to play – has not lost any of its ability to stir up excitement.


And that is the secret of ENO Opera for All. Once you walk through that door – there is no turning back.


The idea espoused by the current ENO Management that this is some new concept – is beautiful in its outreach, but it misses the point that ENO was always this. The only difference is not concept but one of scale.


The ENO Gala Performance brought together established Artists, but also showcased the upcoming Harewood Performers, who are every bit as exhilarating, – and finally focussing on the latest ENO prodigy who is still at School just finishing GCSEs. The future of ENO belongs to the new people, who are young enough to have completely new ideas and ambitions, better and newer communication skills.


Key at ENO is to be the Family. The Drop Off point at whatever stop you have reached on your opera journey. This is not a London based chic concept for SW1 – this is for pan -UK.


I sat next to two people at the Gala, who by total chance are the neighbours to my Music Professor when I was at Uni. We had never met before, but it was like a meeting of old friends, the strands of common ground, across different generations.


I took a moment of thought; if only my new neighbours in the Stalls had been there all those fifty years ago – perhaps they could have given me a ride home?
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Can We Celebrate 70 Years of the NHS?


As increasing numbers of ordinary people move away from this cherished institution – we ask the question – why do they do so?

This is not about private medicine and public services. The UK NHS and its principle guardian of healthcare – free to all – at the point of delivery – is the cornerstone of just about every UK and European belief that healthcare is a public right – not something that you only get if you can afford it.

Fair enough.

The problem is when you put that into practice for the ordinary lives of people like you and I. The principle might be ok but – well, if other places are offering something better, and its within our price range, we are going to choose whatever that something else is.

And so they do.

At the recent Employee Benefit Fair in London just a couple of weeks ago, of the 115 Exhibitors, some 30% were all offering private walk in Doctors facilities.  And the services they were offering were better, than their NHS counterparts, particularly in areas that can be monitored remotely by smart technology on the wrist of all of us. As the provision of healthcare moves away from hospitals into a more community based environment, if for just a few bucks a  month, say you can have your diabetes monitored every day, in real time – or your heart and blood pressure similarly managed – does it matter that you never get to see a real Nurse?  All you want is the Nurse to call you when things look wrong – and for you to be able to drop by as you pass thru the local train station en route to work.

So why do so few NHS Hospitals and CCGs want to adopt similar practices?

The problem is twofold; if we can  solve a specific problem, with  technology, using half the nurses – then we can schedule the remaining nurses somewhere else where there is a greater need. Except that clinical grass roots staff have a fear of change and a fear of losing their job. And Managers have a fear of losing their nurses – and their silo based budgets.  As long as they have lots of people coming through those hospital doors – the money will keep rolling in.

And second – we regularly get emails and responses from NHS senior Managers saying;  “Sure, come by for a conversation, but not for a conversation that means we have to do something”. There is this misplaced belief among so many NHS Managers that as things have always been done this way – then life will continue to be done this way.

Not any more.  

We are seeing already that the public is voting with its feet. Sure, its a small beginning – but its a beginning none the less. As a senior more enlightened NHS Director told me – “we cannot keep trying to squeeze 100 appointments into the time reserved for only 40”.

There will become a time, sooner rather than later, when the public itself will start to wonder why they are paying any money for public healthcare at all. By then of course, it will be too late.

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Charisma. Either you’ve got it. Or you haven’t.

We look at the growth of the Park Annual healthcare forum in Gothenburg and ask – why is it so successful?

It’s a question of how you measure success. There are talking shops, and there are talking shops. For Iris Ohrn, Investment Advisor at Business Region Goteborg, the emphasis is as much on the “shops” (ie the actual business quotient), as it is on the “talking”. She is eager to support all companies interested in the Gothenburg innovation system. Although she can have a chat with anybody she certainly prefers and enjoys discussing concrete business and investment opportunities in Gothenburg – based companies. The chat – is not the end, but the means to an end.

It is a subtle distinction that can easily be lost in the informality of the Park Annual event itself. There are many “Life Science”. Forums out there. The secret sauce of Park Annual is not focusing on trade, investments or scientific research as such. It focuses on gathering all groups ex. entrepreneurs, scientists, innovators, companies and investors in the heart of Göteborg and get them to network and be inspired in a very relax by effective way. Entrepreneurship and innovation are one of word that best describes the event and that could differentiate it from other also good events. Usually start-ups and innovators are the starts of the event.

What Iris says is; “It provides a great forum for debate. You leave the event with a very positive feeling. With that feeling that you are not alone and that is great fun to be part of the Innovation system.”

And it is indeed true – there are indeed similar events. The NJ Pharma Hub; and PACT in Philadelphia come to mind, where both of these have the advantage of zillion times larger population. But that may not be an advantage. Sweden is a small and export dependent country. It is home, so to say, to just 0.13 per cent of the global population. Which means that, in order to succeed, its companies need to be born global and more focussed.

Iris continues: “ Our products compete on the global market from day one as our internal market is very limited, despite our purchase power. We top most lists when we talk about innovation and competitiveness. We do not compete by market size but by the quality of our products. Our formula is collaboration, collaboration at all levels, small and large companies, public and private sector, universities, hospitals and patients. Most of our success relies on our capacity to collaborate. Now, more than ever, cross-sectorial collaboration is our focus. Digitalization and the rapid technological development are disrupting most industries.”

But probably the key missing ingredient is not just the mix of University supporting industry backed by Government It is more the qualification of what constitutes success that we mentioned above. And it is two fold – sure, there are commercial yardsticks, performance indicators. But underlying all of that is the understanding that Park Annual is a healthcare forum. The basic raison d’être is eradicating diseases. Park Annual has its heart in it.

Park Annual is on the 27th Sept 2018 at Sahlgrenska Science Park Sweden.

A Better Way To Get To Hospital…

Here’s a clever idea, sent to us by Susan Lewis on behalf of the Formativ Health  company, the beauty of which is its simplicity. You wonder why nobody else thought of this.

If you’ve got to go to hospital – then you want the simplest way to do it. It is reasonable to assume that you are probably sick.  The one thing you don’t want is the hassle of parking the car. Hospitals have volunteers for this sort of stuff, to get you there. But what if you could just dial a ride, so to say, from someone who is already going? Have a read of this great announcement:

“Formativ Health, a technology-enabled health services company focused on transforming the patient-provider experience, announced today it has entered into an agreement with Lyft, the fastest-growing rideshare company in the U.S.

Formativ, whose technology and services support physician practices, hospitals, and health systems, will work with Lyft to integrate Concierge into its Patient Engagement Platform (PEP). Through this integration, Formativ’s 250+ Patient Engagement Specialists can schedule non-emergency Lyft rides for patients directly through its PEP platform to provide Lyft rides in 40+ States. Lyft rides can be ordered on-demand or in advance, and patients don’t need to be a Lyft user to take advantage of the service.

The PEP, which leverages the Salesforce HealthCloud, is the core of Formativ’s technology offering, enabling improved patient-provider experiences when combined with their team of highly trained Patient Engagement Specialists. Formativ’s PEP solution includes enterprise-wide scheduling functionality that enables improved appointment inventory visibility and features automated waitlist, online self-scheduling and many other key practice management capabilities.

According to a 2017 study by the American Hospital Association, nearly four million patients per year miss out on care, due to lack of available transportation options related to cost or geographic barriers. These missed appointments make it difficult for patients to get the care they need, and this partnership is one way to make it easier for provider organizations to cut that number down.

“For many patients, access to reliable transportation can be the biggest hurdle in getting them to the doctor’s office. Formativ partnered with Lyft to enable our team of patient engagement specialists to book on-demand or scheduled rides for the patients we serve on behalf of our clients, addressing some of the negative social determinants of health, decreasing barriers to care and making life that much easier for patients,” explained David Harvey, chief technology officer at Formativ.

Lyft was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S. and is available to 95 percent of the US population as well as in Ontario, Canada. Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its reliable and friendly experience, and its commitment to effecting positive change for the future of our cities, as the first rideshare company to offset carbon emissions from all rides globally.

New York City-based Formativ Health is a technology-enabled health services company focused on transforming the patient-provider experience. Their services help health systems, provider groups, and payors respond to the rise of consumerism by combining powerful technology with an empathetic approach to customer service. Formativ helps clients enhance their patients’ experience, adapt to evolving risk-based payment models, improve financial performance, increase practice productivity, and elevate physician satisfaction and patient loyalty. For more information, visit http://www.formativhealth.com or on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180907005060/en/