A digital health summit of the ERS


WHO defines digital health, or the use of digital technologies for health, as the “salient field of practice for employing routine and innovative forms of information and communications technology (ICT) to address health needs. Digital health is a term encompassing eHealth (which includes mHealth), as well as emerging areas, such as the use of advanced computing sciences in ‘big data’, genomics and artificial intelligence”. Despite gradual adoption of technologies over the last decade, digital health has come rapidly to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smartwatches, thermal cameras and smartphone apps — all are being used throughout the world to help track and manage the spread of Covid-19.


Respiratory physicians have embraced digital health during the crisis like never before. Video consultations, telemonitoring, artificial intelligence have all been relied on out of necessity rather than choice in hospitals and clinics across the world. These technologies have been very helpful to provide essential health services to our patients. Yet there are many issues, for example, virtual health can amplify health inequalities and not everyone in the world has a smartphone.


This Summit will seek to define the innovations which are realistic for digital respiratory medicine in the here and now and those that are to be considered more aspirational and futuristic.  We will discuss:

  • How can the virtual respiratory team affect the change and improve respiratory health better than we did before?
  • In the pandemic what have we gained from the digital health experience and what have we lost?
  • What is a digital respiratory physician? What is a digital trainee?
  • What virtual tools can be applied now, how can we evaluate these and what should we expect in future?
  • What are the key points in ethics, regulation and policy that we need to consider?