pHealth 2020 is the 17th Conference in a series of scientific events bringing together expertise from medical, technological, political, administrative, and social domains, and even from philosophy or linguistics. It opens a new chapter in the success story of the series of international conferences on wearable or implantable micro and nano technologies for personalized medicine.
Starting in 2003 as a Dissemination Activity in the framework of a European Project on Wearable Micro and Nano Technologies for Personalized Health with personal health management systems, pHealth conferences have evolved to become truly interdisciplinary and global events. Meanwhile, pHealth is comprehensively represented in the conference series, which also covers technological and biomedical facilities, legal, ethical, social, and organizational requirements and impacts, as well as the basic research necessary for enabling the future-proof care paradigms. It thereby combines medical services with public health, prevention, social and elderly care, and wellness and personal fitness to establish participatory, predictive, personalized, preventive, and effective care settings. As a result, it attracts scientists, developers, and practitioners from various technologies, medical and health disciplines, legal affairs, politics, and administration from all over the world. The conference brings together not only health service vendor and provider institutions, payer organizations, governmental departments, academic institutions, and professional bodies, but also patients and citizen representatives.
Smart mobile systems such as microsystems, smart textiles, smart implants, sensor-controlled medical devices, and innovative sensor and actuator principles and techniques, as well as related body, local and wide area networks up to cloud services have become important enablers for telemedicine and ubiquitous pervasive health as the next-generation health services. Social media and gamification have added even more knowledge to pHealth as an eco-system.
OECD has defined four basic areas to be managed in the new care model: meeting the challenges of big data; fostering meaningful innovations; understanding and addressing potential new risks; and supporting the concerted effort to un-silo communities for a virtual care future. The multilateral benefits of pHealth technologies for all stakeholder communities, including patients, citizens, health professionals, politicians, healthcare establishments, and companies from the biomedical technology, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications domains offers enormous potential, not only for the improvement of medical quality and industrial competitiveness, but also for managing health care cost.
The pHealth 2020 conference has benefited from the experience and lessons learned by the organizing committees of previous pHealth events, particularly 2009 in Oslo, 2010 in Berlin, 2011 in Lyon, 2012 in Porto, 2013 in Tallinn, 2014 in Vienna, 2015 in Västerås, 2016 in Heraklion, 2017 in Eindhoven, 2018 in Gjøvik, and 2019 in Genoa. The 2009 conference brought up the interesting idea of having special sessions, focusing on a particular topic, and being organized by a mentor/moderator. The Berlin event in 2010 initiated workshops on particular topics prior to the official start of the conference. Lyon in 2011 initiated the launch of so-called dynamic demonstrations allowing participants to dynamically show software and hardware solutions on the fly without the need for a booth. Implementing pre-conference events, the pHealth 2012 in Porto gave attendees a platform to present and discuss recent developments and provocative ideas which helped to animate the sessions. Highlight of pHealth 2013 in Tallinn was the special session on European projects’ success stories, but also presentations on the newest paradigm changes and upcoming challenges of Big Data, Analytics, Translational and Nano Medicine, etc. Vienna, in 2014, focused on lessons learned from international and national R&D activities and practical solutions, and especially from Horizon 2020, the new EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation. Beside reports about technology-transfer support and building ecosystems and value chains to ensure better time-to-market and higher impact of knowledge-based technologies, the acceptability of solutions with particular consideration of security and privacy aspects were presented and discussed in depth. pHealth 2015 in Västerås addressed mobile technologies, knowledge-driven applications and computer-assisted decision support, but also apps designed to support elderly and chronic patients in their daily and possibly independent living. Furthermore, fundamental scientific and methodological challenges of adaptive, autonomous, and intelligent pHealth approaches, the new role of patients as consumers and active parties with growing autonomy and related responsibilities, as well as requirements and solutions for mHealth in low- and medium-income countries were considered. The pHealth 2016 conference aimed at the integration of biology and medical data, the deployment mobile technologies through the development of micro-nano-bio smart systems, the emphasis on personalized health, virtual care, precision medicine, big bio-data management and analytics. The pHealth 2017 event in Eindhoven provided an inventory of the former conferences by summarizing requirements and solutions for pHealth systems, highlighting the importance of trust, and renewed the focus on behavioral aspects in the design and use of pHealth systems. A specific aspect addressed was the need for flexible, adaptive and knowledge-based systems as well as decision intelligence. pHealth 2018 established national and European satellite workshops, so completing the more theoretical consideration of the majority of the papers by organizational and practical experiences. Borrowing from good experiences at former events, pHealth 2018 responded to the national and regional needs for advancing the healthcare systems and their services to citizens and health professionals. pHealth 2019 put a special focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and their deployment for decision support. In that context, ethical challenges and related international manifests were discussed in depth. In view of the advancement of pHealth to P5 medicine and smart systems approaches, the 2020 event additionally covers AI and robots in healthcare, bio-data management and analytics for personalized health, security, privacy and safety challenges, integrated care, and also the intelligent management of specific diseases including the Covid-19 pandemic. In that context, communication and cooperation with national and regional health authorities and the challenges facing health systems in developing countries were also addressed.
pHealth 2020 has been strongly supported by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Department of Natural Sciences of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, and the Czech Society for Biomedical Engineering and Medical Informatics.
Following a long-term tradition, the Working Groups “Electronic Health Records (EHR)”, “Personal Portable Devices (PPD)” and “Security, Safety and Ethics (SSE)” of the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) have been actively involved in the preparation and realization of the pHealth 2020 Conference.
This proceedings volume includes 1 keynote, 5 invited talks, 25 oral presentations, and 8 short poster presentations from 99 authors, representing 16 countries from all around the world. All submissions have been carefully and critically reviewed by at least two independent experts from a country other than the authors’ home, and additionally by at least one member of the Scientific Program Committee. The performed highly selective review process resulted in a full papers rejection rate of 36%, despite of the specific dedication of the addressed community as compared to multi-topic conferences. This process guarantees a high scientific level of papers accepted and ultimately published. The editors are indebted to all authors, as well as to the internationally acknowledged and highly experienced reviewers, for their essential contribution to the quality of the conference and the book at hand.
Neither the pHealth 2020 Conference nor the publication of the pHealth 2020 Proceedings at IOS Press would not have been possible without the aforementioned pecuniary and spiritual support and sponsorship. This includes the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, and the Czech Society for Biomedical Engineering and Medical Informatics. Other supporters were the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) and standards developing organizations such as HL7 International, ISO/TC215 or CEN/TC251.
The editors are also grateful to the Members of the International Scientific Program Committee, but particularly for the dedicated efforts members of the Local Organizing Committee and their supporters for carefully and smooth preparation and operation of the conference.
Bernd Blobel, Lenka Lhotska, Peter Pharow, Filipe Sousa