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In addition, this year’s discussions were very

much focused on m-health, an emerging part

of e-health where mobile communication

technologies are integrated into the healthcare

provision process. This includes applications

which perform measurements (e.g. of glucose

levels), complement medical devices (e.g.

helping in the delivery of insulin by transmitting

control signals to an insulin pump from a mobile

platform), remind patients they should take their

medication, and provide recommendations to

improve users’ overall health and wellbeing.

The Commission’s eHealth Action Plan 2012-

2020, published in 2012, already recognised

the potential benefits of mobile health apps, as

well as the potential risks. A green paper on m-

health was published in 2014 in the framework

of the action plan and was accompanied by a

staff working document to raise app

developers’ awareness of EU rules on data

protection, medical devices (helping them

determine whether such legislation applies to

their apps or not) and consumer directives.

The public consultation on m-health was open

from 10 April until 10 July 2014 and invited

stakeholders to provide their views on 11 issues

related to the uptake of m-health in the EU.

These were: data protection, including security

of patient health data; Big Data; state of play of

the applicable EU legal framework; patient

safety and transparency of information; the role

of m-health in healthcare systems as well as

equal access; interoperability; reimbursement

models; liability; research and innovation;

international co-operation; and access of IT

companies to the m-health market.

At the Riga event, many sessions addressed the

need to start regulating mobile health apps,

especially if they are going to be used as

medical devices. This regulatory discussion is

very much dependent on safety and privacy

challenges which go hand in hand with


May 2015, Riga played host to the latest edition of eHealth

Week, a conference taking place during the Latvian

Presidency of the Council of the European Union which saw

over 1,200 e-health experts and 81 exhibitors from the 28 EU member

states come together to exchange knowledge and share best practices,

find new ideas and solutions, participate in educational sessions,

exhibitions and networking opportunities, and make key announcements.

During the event, the Nordic countries revealed interesting findings and

the next steps for them in terms of e-health. Finland, for instance,

announced they will be switching off paper-based prescriptions by 2017

as they “have reached nearly 100% coverage with electronic

prescriptions now”, according to Maritta Korhonen, head of development

in the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Paul Timmers, director of sustainable & secure society, DG CONNECT at

the European Commission, who spoke during the closing plenary, said

he is hoping for a European e-health community which can turn actions

into tangible results with real impact for patients: “I am glad to see that

the e-health community is committed to delivering results with real

influence in terms of healthier citizens, more efficient and better

healthcare services, and economic growth and jobs. By joining up forces

and learning from each other we can deliver a social and economic return

on digital investment in health and social care.”


H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L


M E D I C A L T E C H N O L O G Y & R E S E A R C H

Joining forces for e-health


explores some of the points made by various influential speakers at

the eHealth Week conference in Riga concerning the importance of

e- and m-health

There is a huge

potential in using

e-health tools to help

prevent diseases and

to promote good health