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During eHealth Week, delegates benefitted from

several sessions which provided in-depth

expert presentations from around the world,

including the Joint Plenary Green Paper on

mHealth: ‘Conclusions and Actions’, which will

provide an overview of the results of the public

consultation in the context of the Commission’s

Green Paper on mHealth, and sessions

addressing current e-health challenges, such

as ‘Privacy and Data Protection in Healthcare’.

It is through this coming together and this

sharing of experiences and hopes for the future

that the potential held by e- and m-health can

begin to be truly realised.

Indeed, active involvement and participation by

all actors is key. As Pe¯teris Zilgalvis, head of the

Health and Wellbeing Unit at DG CONNECT,

European Commission, highlighted in comments

about eHealth Week: “It’s not about asking the

citizens to come to digital but about digital

services going to where the citizens are to help

them manage their health as well as disease.

M-health has this potential, provided it is safe

to use while respecting people’s privacy. We

invite everyone to be part of this discussion.”

“The partnership is also contributing to the sustainability of our health

and social care systems. It is creating new opportunities for businesses

in e-health and the broader silver economy. It is the right momentum

and will scale up such innovative approaches to serve citizens in ever

greater numbers,” the commissioner added.

Success, however, will depend on the level of exploitation and

incorporation of technological developments into healthcare systems and

the subsequent improvement of their interoperability.


Discussing priorities, Commissioner Andriukaitis explained: “I am keen

to ensure that the Commission is monitoring the functioning of health

systems in the member states, including the implementation of e-health

applications. This will enable us to identify and – where appropriate –

recommend actions. I also believe that thanks to e-health there is scope

to further integrate primary and secondary care in securing early

diagnosis and timely treatment. Health promotion through e-health tools

offers a cheaper solution to prevent or to manage chronic diseases.”

In many parts of Europe today, diabetic patients are monitoring their own

blood sugar levels and are transmitting the information electronically to

their doctors. This means that the care for their condition is ensured with

less effort and at lower cost.

The commissioner continued: “We at the Commission are convinced of

the benefits of e-health. We are already providing funding opportunities

under Horizon 2020 to support research, innovation and co-operation. It

also includes targeted measures to support innovative SMEs.

“With the establishment of the eHealth Network, member state

authorities can take the lead in Europe’s activities on e-health. I have no

doubt that the eHealth Network will continue fulfilling its mission to the

maximum. It has already adopted the patient summary guidelines to

provide continuity of care and patient safety across borders and the

guidelines on e-prescription to facilitate the interoperability of electronic

prescriptions between member states.

“This is a critical step forward – patients will benefit from an electronically

processed prescription and get the medicine they need when travelling

within the EU.”

Single Market

Andriukaitis also highlighted the Commission’s recent launch of the new

Digital Single Market Strategy, which includes a set of key actions that

will be taken at EU level in the coming years to complete the Digital

Single Market.

He explained: “Some of these actions, such as reinforcing trust and

security in the handling of personal data, actions related to interoperability

and standardisation, and supporting an inclusive e-society, are of

particular relevance for e-health.

“I am no techie, but it is clear to me that we must seize the Digital Single

Market opportunities to fulfil a vision for healthcare in the 21st Century

– a vision of a single, universally accessible, sustainable and high quality

e-health single market for the benefit of all European citizens and

healthcare professionals.”


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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

Many sessions

addressed the need to

start regulating mobile

health apps, especially

if they are going to

be used as a

medical device