eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health. Examples include treating patients, conducting research, educating the health workforce, tracking diseases and monitoring public health (WHO). Telemedicine and mHealth are components of eHealth. Whether eHealth tools are used by healthcare professionals, or directly by patients, they play a significant role in improving the health of European citizens.
HOPE has been regularly active in eHealth as a member of the eHealth Stakeholder Group (eHSG). Established by the Commission in 2012 and renewed in 2016 and in 2020, this group currently comprises 40 European umbrella organisations representing different groups like health professionals and managers, patients and consumers, industry, and standardisation bodies. Its aim is to ensure an informed dialogue with the European Commission and to add value to policy design and implementation.
On 20 July 2017, the European Commission had launched the public consultation on digital transformation on health and care to which HOPE contributed.
On 25 April 2018, the Commission released a Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society.
In response to this Communication, HOPE released a Position Paper in which it advocated that there is a need for further EU action in this area but that the Commission Communication does not bring a clear added-value. Its one-fits-all approach, its lack of clarity regarding the sharing of health data or the concrete means that could be set to mobilise resources for eHealth cooperation and the limited representativeness of the survey it is based on are many elements that leave room for improvement.
On 7 February 2020 the Commission announced new member organisations of the eHealth Stakeholder Group 2020-2022. HOPE application has been accepted, alongside with other umbrella organisations/associations with a European outreach, representing the following sectors/groups: the Health Tech industry, patients, healthcare professionals and the research community.
On 19 February 2020, the Commission released the “Shaping Europe’s digital future” Communication for “a digital transformation that works for all”. The European data strategy and the policy options to ensure the human-centric development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) were presented.
On 9 June 2020, the Council adopted conclusions on shaping Europe’s digital future, addressing a wide range of issues related to the implementation of the EU digital strategy. The areas covered by the conclusions range from connectivity, digital value chains and eHealth to the data economy, artificial intelligence and digital platforms. The text also highlights the impact of the digital transformation on fighting the pandemic, and its critical role in the post-COVID-19 recovery.
In relation with eHealth, HOPE also works on the following issues:
ICT services for Life Improvement for the Elderly
eHealth Standards and Profiles in Action for Europe and Beyond
eHealth Governance Initiative
Supporting the European eHealth Governance Initiative and Action
European Momentum for Mainstreaming Telemedicine Deployment in Daily Practice
Network for the Market uptake of ICT for Ageing Well