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, this group currently comprises 30 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 mobilize resources for eHealth cooperation and the limited representativeness of the survey it is based on are many elements that leave room for improvement.
In January 2017 the Commission published in an ePrivacy package including a proposal for a Regulation that concerns healthcare providers.
The measures presented by the Commission aim to update current rules, extending their scope to all electronic communication providers. They also aim to create new possibilities to process communication data and reinforce trust and security in the Digital Single Market. At the same time, the proposal aligns the rules for electronic communications with the new world-class standards of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
HOPE released a Position Paper on ePrivacy and identified several issues related to healthcare:
• Public networks will need to comply with the new legislation;
• Healthcare providers contacting their patients by text / email using a public network will have to comply;
The main concerns are related to few provisions of the proposal that, according to HOPE, should include some restriction, for health purposes, public health and social security reasons. For example to make sure that emergency services have enough breathing space to be able to do what they need to do to respond to a person in a medical emergency or data. Also, access to some metadata (ie location data) might be needed from public electronic communications in order to see peak times and locations of A&E services for example.
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