eHealth implementation is identified by the Commission as one of the Societal Challenges for the upcoming decades. It covers the ICT-based interaction between patients and health-service providers, institution-to-institution data transmission, peer-to-peer communication between patients or health professionals. It also includes health information networks, electronic health records, tele-medicine services, including personal wearable and portable communicable systems for monitoring and supporting patients. Today, healthcare expenditure accounts for 9 % of GDP, but represents between 12% and 15% of government spending in most EU countries. As such, eHealth, with its promise of more efficient care, is critical to the sustainability of the healthcare systems in Europe.
Regions should invest in eHealth, in order to move towards a "European eHealth Area", helping to further coordinate actions and promote synergies between related policies and stakeholders. This could help develop better solutions, prevent market fragmentation and improve the dissemination of best practices. Specific objectives such as creating an electronic health record architecture supporting the exchange of information, the set-up of health information networks between points of care to coordinate reactions to health threats, the promotion of online health services such as information on healthy living and illness prevention, and development of teleconsultation or ePrescribing, are relevant actions. This should be client-centric and tailored to local and regional needs. Digital education is important to support citizen and client initiatives.
It is also crucial to invest in eHealth solutions that reduce levels and length of hospitalisation, for regions with a low population density, or with widely dispersed communities, as eHealth can be more cost effective than the traditional hub-and-spoke hospital model.
More news and events
Fibre enabling eHealth – conference, 27th April, in Brussels. The conference topics are digitalization in health care and ageing, possibilities of fibre to the eHealth and piloting actions tested in the Nordics recently related to these matters.