Because Europeans live longer than ever, and because of new and expensive treatments, the costs of health and social care will rise substantially to about 9% of EU GDP in 2050. ICT can be our most powerful ally to maintain cost efficient and high quality health and social care, as it empowers people of every age to better manage their health and quality of life, in any place.
ICT for health and ageing: a triple win
ICT can make a huge contribution by providing European citizens with better and cheaper services for health and ageing well. The introduction of ICT and telemedicine alone is estimated to improve efficiency of health care by 20%. Moreover, ICT empowers users of every age to better manage their health.
As the global telecare and telehealth market is forecast to grow from € 7.6 to 17.6 billion already by 2017, also the EU economy can profit from this. If we do it right, we can achieve a triple win: a better quality of life for European citizens, innovation and growth for a competitive EU industry and more sustainable healthcare systems for society.
A European market would enable suppliers of eHealth tools – such as databases for patient records, mobile monitors, or handling systems for patient call centres – to build a strong base from which they can compete in the global market. Hence the EU’s eHealth policy, which covers areas as diverse as patient rights in cross-border healthcare, funding advanced research and development, and ensuring that electronic health record systems are compatible internationally.