OECD Forum 2014: Health & Innovation
Monday 5 May
15:15 - 16:45
Blue Amphitheatre
Parallel session

With the increase in the percentage of the world’s population over the age of 60, as well as increasing life expectancy in general, the diseases linked to aging pose enormous challenges both for individuals and societies in terms of quality of life and economic burden.

Over 44 million people are already living with dementia worldwide, with a projected increase to exceed 135 million people by 2050 as the global population ages; over 70% will be in emerging and developing countries. Alzheimer’s disease is more than an emerging global health crisis: it is a social, employment, and economic challenge that governments, business and civil society need to address urgently.

The rapid growth of digital data collection offers an unprecedented opportunity for more effective, efficient and humane care, and gives “digital doctors”, healthcare providers, and health care facilities the chance to play a unique role. Large scale data collection widely shared and compared through the adoption of Open Access policies, could effectively harness technological progress and ensure that data will be turned into useful and actionable health information. Already doctors are making treatment decisions based on so-called evidence-based medicine, which involves systematically reviewing clinical data and making treatment decisions based on the best available information.

Breakthrough innovations become possible when the collection of clinical data is combined with rapid advances in the emerging fields of bio-medicine, such as genomic technologies, nano-sciences, and regenerative medicine. However, an improved environment for the integration of new technologies into medical research is needed, in particular for facilitating the transfer of technology-associated discoveries from the laboratory to the point of care. And, regulation has to keep up with technology in order to, for example, avoid compromising patient privacy.

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