Patient representatives take to the floor at OPTIMA’s second General Assembly meeting

At the second OPTIMA General Assembly meeting in Barcelona on 10-11 May, members of the OPTIMA Patient and Public Advisory Board shared their views and experiences. OPTIMA is a project focused on improving treatments for lung, breast and prostate cancer, and funded by the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI). The project aims to provide personalised and up-to-date treatments to every patient. It uses computer guidelines and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to enhance shared decision-making and provides access to extensive data and tools.

The Patient and Public Advisory Board (PPAB), facilitated by ELF, consists of members representing patients with lung, breast and prostate cancer. At the meeting, PPAB members Erik Briers, Conchi Buirrun, Seamus Cotter and Marjo Forsblom participated in discussions and workshops. Conchi and Seamus gave a presentation to highlight their progress and emphasise the importance of involving patients in all aspects of the project. All four PPAB members ensured that the patient perspective remained central to the project’s activities throughout the meeting and that members of the project were aware of the need to contact the PPAB for input.

ELF Director Pippa Powell also gave a presentation about why it is essential to involve patients in projects such as OPTIMA. This included the results of a survey and workshops conducted by ELF on the topic of AI. We found that while most patients felt positive about the use of AI in healthcare, there were concerns about possible misdiagnosis, potential privacy breaches and the risk that the relationship between a patient and their doctor could feel impersonal.

PPAB member Marjo Forsblom from Finland commented, “It was a pleasure to meet again, and to feed into discussions about how our expertise can be put to good use in the project”.

You can read more about the OPTIMA project here. For more information about patient input into the project, please contact Clare Williams at


OPTIMA is funded through the IMI2 Joint Undertaking and is listed under grant agreement No. 101034347. IMI2 receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI supports collaborative research projects and builds networks of industrial and academic experts in order to boost pharmaceutical innovation in Europe.

The views communicated within are those of OPTIMA. Neither the IMI nor the European Union, EFPIA, or any Associated Partners are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.