STOA projects aim to provide scientific evidence to underpin policy decisions, based upon a state-of-the-art overview of cross-cutting topics that have a scientific or technological dimension such as robotics and artificial intelligence, ICT, cybersecurity, teaching and learning technologies, e-democracy, precision agriculture and waste management. See here the MEPs involved.

Interesting reading: Global Trends to 2035 – This study maps and analyses current and future global trends in the fields of economics and society, covering the period to 2035. Drawing on and complementing existing literature, it summarises and analyses the findings of relevant foresight studies in relation to such global trends. It traces recent changes in the perceived trajectory of already-identified trends and identifies significant new or emerging trends. It also addresses potential policy implications of such trends for the EU.

One key challenge for Europe will be how to deal with inequalities, possibly more inequalities in opportunities and perceived social status, rather than inequalities in income. This might need a re-think of social policy and perhaps the indicators to be used to measure success.

STOA met today, 10 January 2019, with keynote speech of Maggie De Block, Belgium Minister of Social Affairs and Health, but also Migration. As always, very practical and upfront, she advocates that political decisions need to be evidence-based and as such real-time evidence is needed, stressing the importance of safety and wellbeing, next to financial sustainability. As such, nurses are key when discussing personalised medicine to optimise dose and duration. Frontline nurses have the data which are key for HTA.

Although Paul Rübig (MEP) and STOA Vice Chair and Denis Lacombe from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) know very well where this all should go, all plans are still pre-mature and will need better coordination to have real impact. Quality of survival and applied clinical research is key to identify practices that improve daily quality of life. Therefore, HTA agencies need other sets of data then regulators. So, who will collect them frontline? The Doctors? STOA asked EORTC to map a stakeholders’ study, but the biggest health workforce is missing: nurses! Important was the intervention of Ewan Birney from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) talking about genomics but making an important link to EHR! And no surprise here, EFN end-user role in InteropEHRate and Smart4Health is therefore key!

Finally, Wim Goettsch intervention on HTA stressed the importance of also social, economic and ethical, not just the medical assessment. And that’s where nurses come in! The new key topic for HTA is DATA for decision-making. What kind of data do we need and what methods do we need to make these decisions?