Working Party on eHealth Annual Report

Ilkka Kunnamo (Finland), chair of the Working Party on eHealth reports:

The WONCA Policy Statement on eHealth published in 2016 has guided the topics raised at WONCA conferences. It has stimulated many discussions about the active role of patients in recording and managing their own health data, about the benefits but also confidentiality risks of national data repositories holding both primary and secondary care data, data capture for big data repositories and for quality measurement. Most importantly, the long-waited opportunity for the general practitioner to take the role of coordinator in both health promotion and in the care of patients with multiple morbidities could finally come true as all health data and an integrated care plan will soon be available both to the GP and to his or her patients.

The WONCA Working Party on eHealth collaborated with EQuiP in organizing two workshops at WONCA Europe in Krakow with eHealth as one focus. The topics were quality measurement (presentation) and integrated care plans (presentation). eHealth was a keynote topic at the EQuiP Conference in Bratislava (presentation).

We have received more than 20 requests to join the Working Party during the last year. The number of requests is steadily increasing. All new members are welcome, and they will be contacted personally.

There has been a lot of hype about artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine, but few clinical applications so far. The Working Party should actively follow new developments, keep the key principles of general practice in focus, and promote ethical discussion on who controls AI implementation.

Merging together the Working Party on eHealth and WONCA International Classification Committee has been discussed, because the implementation of eHealth is very much dependent on structured health data, and discussing how to utilize coded data together with emerging technology of natural language processing in clinical practice may be even more important than promoting a specific coding systems.

Time has come for me to retire from the position as convenor of the Working Party and thank all colleagues who have been involved in its activities. We wish to elect a new convenor by the end of this year.

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