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EuroHealthNet Annual Seminar: Promoting Digital Health Literacy for Europe’s Digital Future // La maîtrise des outils numériques de santé pour l’Europe digitale de demain

7 December, 2021
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Online – Free to attend

7 December, 09:30-12:30 EN & FR

Cette conférence offre une interprétation en direct vers le français. Lisez la version française ici.


Register HERE


Digitalisation is transforming public health, health systems,  and the health information we receive – as well as how we receive and understand it. How can we navigate these changes in ways which leave no one behind?

Our health and social systems are undergoing rapid digital transformation, sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also have access to more and more information – and disinformation – every day. New digital technologies offer promising solutions to many long-standing health system challenges, such as sustainability and accessibility. They also present us with new issues.

Socioeconomic differences, and different levels of education and skills, can lead to ‘digital divides’ which reduce the uptake of such new technologies, but also their fair and equitable use. If Europe’s digital transition is to be a success, it must work for everyone.

Over three interactive sessions, we will explore the following themes: 

  • Person-centred digital ecosystems within integrated social and health systems. We should not expect people to adapt to systems; instead, systems should adapt to people. But how do we build these person-centred social and health systems?  
  • Insights from the cutting-edge of research into improving digital health literacy. Where are we now, and where should we go from here to reduce health inequalities? 
  • The role of modern media: using social marketing – and social media – for health promotion and protection. Modern technologies and media give us unprecedented access to information. However, we need to ensure that we are promoting safer internet use for all, particularly for the younger generation, and sharpen the required skills to ‘cut through the noise’ and fight disinformation and misleading commercial practices, which could ultimately have detrimental effects on public health. How can we navigate through this new information landscape? How can we protect people’s health from “unhealthy” advertisement and unsafe online spaces? 

Live interpretation to French will also be available during the seminar. On Zoom, you will have access to a “globe icon” feature which would enable you to switch between French and English options during the discussion. 


Register HERE


Find the full agenda here.


Welcome 09:30-09:50

  • Dr Mojca Gabrijelčič Blenkuš, EuroHealthNet President, public health specialist at the Slovenian National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ)
  • Keynote: Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, Director of the Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Europe

View the presentation “Strategic direction for the European Region” by Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat here. 

Interactive Session 1: 09:50-10:35 Panel debate and Q&A: Person-centred digital ecosystems  

Moderated by Alison Maassen, Programme Manager, EuroHealthNet

Digital ecosystems aim to put people at the centre of integrated health and social systems, with the purpose of delivering multidisciplinary and collaborative services. They also present an opportunity for people to have easier access to their health data, and better navigate better the system. Nonetheless, for digital ecosystems to be truly person-centric, certain existing challenges and inequalities need to be confronted, such as the varying levels of digital skills and digital health literacy.

Session 1 aims to address the importance of a truly person-centred digital ecosystem, and showcase good practices of its implementation. 

  • Ms Belén Sotillos González – Innovation Officer, Andalusian Agency for Healthcare Quality, European mHealth Hub representative 
  • Ms Anett Numa – Digital Transformation Adviser – e-Estonia Briefing Center
  • Ms Alisha Davies – Public Health Wales presenting a recently-launched report named Digital technology and health inequalities: a scoping review.

View the presentation “Digital technology and health inequalities” by Ms Alisha Davies here. 

View the presentation “Enter E Estonia” by Ms Annet Numa here.

View the presentation “European mHealth Hun Person Centered Digital Ecosystems” by Ms Belén Sotillos González here. 

Interactive Session 2: 10:35-11:20 Panel debate and Q&A: Digital skills, health literacy and inclusiveness

Moderated by Dr Sumina Azam – EuroHealthNet Executive Board Member and Policy Lead for Public Health Wales 

There is a direct link between levels of digital health literacy and socioeconomic disparities. Thus, the uptake of innovative technologies across the population – without targeted interventions – tends to be uneven and inequitable, and leaves behind groups of people who are not able to take a more active role in their health management.  The rapid digitisation of health and social services must therefore take into account the varying levels of digital health literacy and levels of accessibility – not assuming that all digital service users are homogenous.  This requires a multidisciplinary approach that empowers citizens and helps  build the necessary skills and environments in which all users can access and benefit from health and social services. 

Session 2 aims to explore the latest advances in research in the field, focusing on the importance of digital inclusion through the development of digital skills and digital health literacy.

  • Dr Orkan Okan – TUM Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Health Literacy, Technical University Munich
  • Mr Lars MünterHead of International Projects Unit for the Danish Committee for Health Education, Project Lead Communication at Nordic Health 2030 Movement, initiator of the Self-Care In Europe-network 
  • Ms Katarzyna Ptak-Bufkens – Policy Officer, DG SANTE, Performance of national health systems, European Commission 

View the presentation “Digital skills in healthcare” by Ms Katarzyna Ptak-Bufkens here. 

Break 11:20-11.35

Interactive Session 3: 11:35-12:20 Panel debate and Q&A: The role of modern media and marketing approaches in digital health literacy

Moderated by Ms Lorna Renwick – EuroHealthNet Executive Board Member and Organisational Lead Health Equity at Public Health Scotland

It has become increasingly common to look for information – including health information – online and via social networking sources. While this offers the opportunity to mainstream discussions about health promotion and disease prevention among the general population, it also risks widening health inequalities, as not everyone has the same digital health literacy skills and resilience against misinformation and fake news. It also raises questions on how to effectively use social marketing strategies to support health promotion and improved health literacy, and face challenges around misleading commercial practices online, which might be combatted through effective use of social marketing strategies.

Session 3 aims at exploring the role of modern media and marketing approaches in digital health literacy and sharing some best practices in the field. 

  • Prof Gill Rowlands Professor of Population Health Sciences, Newcastle University UK and Aarhus University Denmark

EuroHealthNet Thematic Working Group (TWIG) on Social Marketing to Tackle Addictions 

  • Ms Jennifer Davies – Policy Officer Partnership and Advocacy, Sante Publique France
  • Dr Sigrid Troelstra – Scientific Collaborator, Trimbos Institute for Mental Health, Netherlands
  • Ms Justine Avenel-Roux – Project lead of #MoisSansTabac campaign, Sante Publique France

View the presentation “The role of modern media and marketing approaches in digital health literacy” by Prof Gill Rowlands here. 

View the presentation “Social Marketing to Tackle Addictions” by Ms Jennifer Davies & Dr Sigrid Troelstra here.

View the presentation “Digital Health to Reach Most Vulnerable Groups: The Example of Tobacco Cessation” by Ms Justine Avenel-Roux here.


Concluding remarks 12:20-12:30

  • Mr Clayton Hamilton – Coordinator, Digital Health Flagship at World Health Organization Europe
  • Ms Caroline Costongs Director, EuroHealthNet
Digital Health Literacy for Europe's Digital Future // La maîtrise des outils numériques de santé pour l'Europe digitale de demain
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