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Editorial: Digital Health at the European Society of Cardiology in 2020

The ESC Digital Summit

The ESC held its first Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, in October 2019, aiming to reach those who were particularly involved or interested in digital health. The venue was a converted power station, and its brick hallways resonated to the sound of lively discussions on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, decision support, ethics, m-health, and many other such topics. The style of the meeting was more that of a technology conference than a medical meeting, with TED-style presentations on stage, United Nations-style panel discussions with a broad range of stakeholders, and an almost continuous stream of “show and tell” about new digital approaches to health, lifestyle and healthcare. The Prime Minister, Jűri Ratas, welcomed more than 500 delegates from almost 30 countries to Estonia – one of the most digitally connected states in the world. Twitter was very busy (#ESCDigital) as people shared their excitement with their many followers. To view the presentations please look at ESC365 on the ESC website.

The ESC will repeat the Digital Summit in Tallinn on 9-10 October 2020 –  the meeting will be somewhat bigger (but without losing its intimate feel) with many new speakers from the worlds of cardiology, technology, regulation and reimbursement, and with patient and patient advocates front and centre. Co-design will be a key theme: we are all stakeholders in creating the future and therefore having a conversation together sure beats the usual silo-mentality! Perhaps you can present an example of where digital transformation has taken place in your clinical service, or where a new technological development has allowed you to improve the processes, outcome or experience of care? Or come to increase your knowledge of digital developments, and to share your experience with cardiologists from across the world.

ESC Annual Scientific Meeting

In addition to the Digital Summit, it was a pleasure to see a much larger (and more easily accessible) Digital Area at the ESC Scientific Meeting in Paris at the end of August 2019. Many topics were discussed, and a whole range of technologies demonstrated - from Apps on smartphones, to new wearables, and discussion of how through the “Internet of Things” huge data streams could be integrated and used to support better decision making for patients and the healthcare professionals involved in advising them. The Digital Area will be even larger in Amsterdam at the 2020 Scientific Meeting (August 29-Sept 2), and situated just after the Registration Area.

The Digital Portal

Thanks to Nico Bruining and his team, the digital “portal” went live on the ESC website at the time of the Annual Meeting of the society. This portal should be your first point of contact for news in the digital cardiology arena, and for short punchy articles that discuss key topics. In 2020, we are likely to move towards a virtual journal of digital cardiology, boosting the coverage of research and education in digital cardiology yet further.

Co-ordination and collaboration

The Digital Health Committee has worked hard in 2019 to forge ever stronger relationships with all of the ESC Associations and Working Groups, through our liaison officers, and with external bodies such as the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society. It has also set up a Digital Forum for our partners in industry, so that we can discuss key topics of mutual interest and make sure that our members are aware of the many exciting developments in the digital world of health and healthcare.


Together we can help make the future. The ESC is adamant that it will remain at the centre of digital transformation, working with all the relevant stakeholders, including cardiologists and other health care professionals, academia, patients and their advocates, industry, regulators and reimbursement authorities to foster developments in education, advocacy, research and care delivery. Digital transformation will be key to achieving the aims of the society – to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease across Europe and further afield. All around us things are changing – let’s be part of the conversation.

A final request (or two) for your consideration:

LinkedIn_logo_initials.pngtwitter_logo_blue.pngPlease follow #ESCdigital and @escardio for updates on all things digital

Consider joining the ESC Digital LinkedIn Group

Look out for details of ESC Amsterdam (August 2019) where there will be 4000 m2 of space dedicated to all things digital, and of course the ESC Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia on 9-10 October 2020.

Keep revisiting the Digital Portal for interesting articles and signposting to digital resources

Wishing you all success in 2020.

The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.