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Europe yet to tap 'huge potential' of eHealth

But European Commission working on the challenges that remain, says vice president Neelie Kroes

eHealth Week 2013 Dublin IrelandeHealth has “huge potential” to help Europe cope with its ageing population, the burden of chronic diseases and austerity health budgets, according to the European Commission's Neelie Kroes.

Addressing the 11th annual eHealth Week, held this year in Dublin, the EC's vice president responsible for its Digital Agenda plan also said that eHealth could help the region by stimulating “a strong EU market that could serve our citizens - and compete globally”.

Speaking yesterday Kroes said: “We already have a good knowledge-base and great capacity for innovation on eHealth; with the right political support we can use those assets.

“The Commission eHealth Action Plan, adopted in December, is about going further, looking ahead to 2020, making eHealth really happen, and addressing some remaining challenges for eHealth.”

The key issues the sector faces were, she said:
• Interoperability: making eHealth tools and services work together within and between regions

• Research and development: supporting ICT-enabled innovations in new health tools, treatments and systems centred on users

• Deployment - including harnessing EU funding initiatives, such as the European Regional Development Fund

• Digital skills and health literacy, as well as improving the evidence base about the impact of eHealth

• International cooperation - and a second workshop on the EU–US Memorandum of Understanding will be held in Dublin tomorrow.

“Now we need to implement the actions identified in the eHealth action plan, and we take that very seriously," Kroes added.

“We continue to work on the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. It's a great way for those directly involved to get together, share their experiences and learn; you'll hear a lot about it in the coming days.

“Another very relevant area is mobile apps for mobile health and wellbeing, which empower people to easily take control of their own health. The Commission is working on a Green Paper which will launch a public debate on that issue.

“That's just a flavour of what we're doing from the Commission. But that's not the whole story. Often, the right instruments lie in other hands: from finance ministers to regional governments; researchers to carers; insurers and venture capitalists to digital entrepreneurs,” she said.

14th May 2013

From: Healthcare

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