Managing the digital transformation – Discover the #EHMA2022 topics

20 January 2022

Digital health has demonstrated its multiple advantages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge now consists in building on the momentum to continue exploiting the added value brought by digital technologies. Digital technologies can improve access to healthcare and help make health systems more responsive, resilient, and sustainable.[1] Digital transformation is also key to achieving high-quality patient care. It can help healthcare professionals support their clinical decisions, issue electronic prescriptions, keep track of medical stocks to prevent shortages, access medical records, and facilitate communication with patients through telehealth and mobile apps, thus alleviating some of the pressure put on the medical staff.

Digital technologies can also be employed to collect and generate real-world evidence, which can subsequently be used to draw evidence-based health policies and identify best practices. Lastly, digital tools provide the opportunity for patients to take their health into their own hands, thereby improving person-centred health care. While digital tools can connect and serve both patients and healthcare professionals, medicine should not lose sight of the social and human element in favour of digitalisation.[2]

To effectively uptake new technologies, health services thus need to find ways to organise and implement the use of digital solutions within their setting, while keeping in mind that it is people that drive change. The use of digital technologies as management tools also introduced new ways of working, with some questioning the impact of these technologies on the wellbeing of the staff.

The EHMA 2022 Annual Conference will therefore shed light on the following questions: How is digital technology, for example, AI, being used as a management tool? What is the impact of health data on decision-making at the managerial level? What are the advantages and challenges of adopting AI? How can health systems build trust in digital innovation? How can health systems better support citizens and the workforce to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital transformation?

If you have carried out research on digital transformation and are interested in sharing your results with the health management community, then don’t forget to submit your abstract before Friday, 4 March at 17:00 CET.


[1] European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Use of digital health tools in Europe: before, during and after COVID-19. Policy Brief 42.
[2] European Health Management Association. EHMA 2021 Annual Conference Report.


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I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain