It's a Wrap and the Start

It's a Wrap and the Start
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I'm Bart de Witte, and I've been inside the health technology industry for more than 20 years as a social entrepreneur. During that time, I've witnessed and was part of the evolution of technologies that are changing the face of healthcare, business models, and culture in unexpected ways.

This newsletter is intended to share knowledge and insights about building a more equitable and sustainable global digital health. Sharing knowledge is also what Hippo AI Foundation, named after Hippocrates, focuses on, the democratisation of digital health technologies.

When we decided to organize a Summit focused on the European Health Data Space at the end of October, we ignored the standard recommendation to plan 6 months in advance. With this rule in mind, and knowing we only had 8 weeks, we concentrated on creating great content as well as initiating and expanding our communication strategy to spread the benefits of a data and AI commons strategy based on the principles of solidarity and open-source development. And, despite some technical difficulties with our live stream on day one, we are proud of the content we produced.

Those who attended noticed that our summit wasn't the typical conference that hyped the current European Health Data Space proposal. In our view, the current EHDS proposal, will be fully in line with the fundamental values underpinning the EU, and make data work for citizens and science.

As discussed with Prof. Tamar Sharon, we find it even awkward that the current proposal does mention The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as an important component of our right to privacy as EU privacy law and of human rights law, in particular Article 8(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, but it does not mention Europe's unique right to healthcare as described in Article 35 of that same Charter. Where are the policies that protect our right to health in the current plans?

Last week during our summit, the EU council adopted its common position on the Artificial Intelligence Act, something we discussed with Carlos Munos Ferandis, the AI Council at Hugging Face. The Act's aim is to ensure that AI systems placed on the EU market and used in the Union are safe and respect existing laws on fundamental rights and Union values. According to our fundamental right to health, policymakers need to ensure a high level of human health protection when defining and implementing EU policies. One can only wonder why this right wasn't included, especially since the EHDS proposal says that health data can be protected by laws like intellectual property, copyright, and other similar laws. A proposal like this would let private companies build legal walls around patient data. This would increase information asymmetries and set the stage for future inequalities. Will it be possible to extract social value from the walled data? And does the proposal that data can be legally protected not go against what EU member states agreed to when they signed the EU framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union?

Another principle excluded from the EHDS is the principle of solidarity, which has been an integral component of European society and strengthens health services for all. It's the principle the Commission employed to support the healthcare systems of EU Member States in their fight against the coronavirus epidemic, and it's the principle we use to unify when an external threat is posed. In 2023, we will go deeper into the concept of data solidarity and continue the conversation on how we might construct more fair digital healthcare systems collectively.

As we want to intensify our dialogue and conversation we launched a Discord server that we will use in 2023. We would appreciate it if you join the server, and after joining, read the manifesto and introduce yourself.

While preparing for this summit and speaking with our extended network, we realized that no technology can replace human interaction. As a result, we have decided to host a Hippo AI Open Health Data and AI Summit on-site in 2023. Together with you, we want to create an extraordinary experience that brings together free-thinking individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and positions, whose overarching goal is to dismantle health disparities. Please contact us if you want to share your ideas or become a member of our volunteer team. We look forward to hearing from you!

And last but not least I want to express my gratitude to Ralf Neugebauer, Ilja Radlgruber, Shreekanth Mukku, Katja Radlgruber, Tobias Schmidt, Mike Bernd, Samuel Kilchenmann, Alexandre Ramalho, Marius de Arruda Botelho Herr, and of course all our guests, attendees and those who donated to support our cause.

About Bart de Witte

Bart de Witte is a leading and distinguished expert for digital transformation in healthcare in Europe and one of the most progressive thought leaders in his field. He focuses on developing alternative strategies for creating a more desirable future for the post-modern world and all of us. With his Co-Founder, Viktoria Prantauer, he founded the non-profit organisation Hippo AI Foundation, located in Berlin.

About Hippo AI Foundation

The Hippo AI Foundation is a non-profit that accelerates the development of open-sourced medical AI by creating data and AI commons (e.q. data and AI as digital common goods/ open-source). As an altruistic "data trustee", Hippo unites, cleanses, and de-identifies data from individual and institutional data donations. This means data that is made available without reward for open-source usage that benefits communities or society at large, such as the use of breast-cancer data to improve global access to breast cancer diagnostics.

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