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EFA DIG_IT project

The early 2020s are a crucial moment in the short history of digital health. Three factors, the COVID-19 pandemic, forthcoming EU regulation on the infrastructure of health data, and the growing number of innovative technologies entering the health market, have together moved digital solutions centre stage. It is therefore time to dig deep on the impact, opportunities, and challenges of the digital revolution in healthcare.

The EFA’s Digital Information Technology (DIG_IT) Project aims to put patient voices at the heart of these conversations. In doing so, it paves the way to a patient-informed transformation of digital technology use throughout health services.

The evidence generated by this survey will inform forthcoming regulations and the continued evolution of a fast-moving field, and it will also serve to develop an EFA Charter for Digital Asthma and COPD Care.

From this strong foundation, EFA’s DIG_IT Project will build a framework for continued digitalisation in the respiratory conditions’ field.

Digital technologies are aimed at making healthcare more efficient, data-driven and patient-centred. Patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have indicated in EFA’s a willingness to embrace tools that empower them and improve outcomes DIG_IT survey. However, uptake of innovative devices and services has been slower in healthcare than in other sectors.

the DIG_IT report

The DIG_IT report: Asthma and COPD Patients’ Digital Journey in Europe

In addition to providing a deeper understanding of the benefits, barriers, and concerns around digital health, the project aims to develop insights into the patient digital journey in respiratory health.

By building on insights from the patient community, EFA will ensure that its positions reflect the current perspectives of the association’s members and patients it represents.

The DIG_IT survey findings have been translated into patient recommendations for policymakers, academia, and the technology sector.

The DIG_IT patient survey

The DIG_IT survey was conducted by the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) in the summer of 2021. It set out to capture the views of asthma and COPD patients on Europe’s digital future. The initiative surveyed close to thousand patients in five countries to understand their needs, perceptions, and use of digital technologies throughout their patient journey.

The DIG_IT survey covered:

  • 970 asthma and COPD patients surveyed
  • 5 European countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Norway, and Spain)
  • 50 questions on access, diagnosis, treatment, care as well as their views on health data and digital empowerment

The participating countries were selected according to several criteria such as access to digital solutions, impact of COVID 19 on national healthcare systems, and with regards to a geographical representation of EFA’s European membership. In addition, EFA preferred to conduct the survey in countries where no much data on digitalisation in the respiratory area were available.

the DIG_IT questionnaire


The EFA’s DIG_IT Project, survey and survey report have been funded with unrestricted grants from EFA’s Sustainable Corporate Partners Astra Zeneca, Chiesi, MSD, OM Pharma and Roche. The EFA’s DIG_IT Prize is being made possible thanks to unrestricted grants from EFA’s Sustainable Corporate Partners Chiesi and Roche.

EFA thanks our Asthma and COPD Working Group of Members for their insights and vision throughout this project from their national perspectives.

EFA deeply thanks the 970 asthma and COPD patients who participated in the survey and the EFA Members for their advice and sustained support in this project.