Over 100 European organisations addressed digital innovation in healthcare

On 17th of October, at a high-level e-health conference in Tallinn, a joint declaration of e-health organisations was announced to accelerate digital innovation in healthcare.

The declaration of over 100 European organisations’ calls for concrete steps to develop e-health in Europe and all stakeholders interested in the future of e-health are expected to co-endorse it and to join the taskforces working on concrete actions and solutions.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, who attended the eHealth Conference in Tallinn, has also been at the forefront of e-health development in Europe. “I welcome that the Estonian Presidency has made EU cooperation to support digital health innovation a priority. At the informal Council meeting in July, health ministers articulated their willingness to be more ambitious on digital health and to collaborate more effectively on issues such as data security, cybersecurity and new software products for data sharing,” Andriukaitis said. “It seems that the momentum to converge our efforts has finally arrived. Let us all work together with governments, health professionals, businesses, and researchers, but above all with the patients to make digital health in Europe a reality.”

“European countries have made progress in developing e-health, both in developing health information systems and in introducing digital prescriptions. But this is not enough to cope with people’s growing expectations and to benefit from digital innovation in healthcare,” said the Estonian Minister for Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski. “The declaration is a great example of how different stakeholders are willing to work towards a common goal. Public authorities have a crucial role to play in creating conditions for the development of e-services, but we need the contributions of all stakeholders in the health sector, and private-public partnerships to implement the changes.”

Brian O’Connor, the Chair of ECHAlliance, highlighted the importance of the Digital Health Society (DHS): “Because a holistic view is needed, the DHS movement has integrated inputs from a multi-stakeholders group, sharing a vision, between citizens and patients, policy makers, health professionals and healthcare service managers, scientists, companies, startups, insurers and mutual funds, investors, etc. The DHS Declaration, which received numerous contributions, is a manifesto expressing the current main challenges for the Digital health implementation and highlights the objectives and initiatives of each category of stakeholders to achieve in a collective movement. People and organisations are now invited to sign up to the DHS movement and participate in the work of the DHS Task forces.”

The Digital Health Society, initiated by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and ECHAlliance have assembled an eHealth Declaration that includes more than 100 European organisations’ proposals for developing eHealth in Europe.

The Declaration describes the bottlenecks that hamper the development of e-health, such as the lack of people’s trust in e-services in Europe, the lack of interoperability between different information systems, the lack of a clear legal framework, and the inadequate training of healthcare professionals. Proposing solutions for overcoming these obstacles, the document emphasises the need for unified approachesto the development of data exchange infrastructure, raising people’s awareness of the use of e-health solutions and implementing the European Union Data Protection Regulation in a way that it does not create unnecessary obstacles to the free flow of data between member states.

The Declaration and the conference discussions will support the conclusions of the Council of the European Union, which are due to be adopted by the health ministers at the December health ministers’ Council.

The high-level conference on e-health ‘Health in the digital society. The digital society for health’ took place in Tallinn from 16 to 18 October. Over 600 digital health experts from Europe and across the globe gathered in Tallinn to exchange knowledge and share best practices as part of the eHealth Tallinn conference.