The eHealth action plan 2012-2020 was launched in December 2012 to address barriers to widespread telemedicine deployment. Two pilots funded under CIP programme designed to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data, involving over 20 regions in different Member States.
What is the problem? Sustainability of healthcare systems is at stake
Increasing demands from patients, a rising spread of chronic diseases, the impact of an ageing population, together with scarcer human and financial resources are putting sustainability of healthcare systems at risk. New models of healthcare and stakeholder engagement and involvement are essential to ensure the sustainability of a healthy society.
Why is EU action needed? Patients' empowerment and deployment of telemedicine services are key to ensuring the sustainability of healthcare systems
Healthy and active lives are associated to well informed, educated and pro-active patients and citizens. The strategy of patient empowerment includes increased patients' access to their health data, participation and responsibility, in order to render their interactions with healthcare services more effective while increasing their mobility. As active players, patients gain in autonomy, quality and safety of care, and can improve their lifestyles.
Telemedicine services are crucial to taking better care of chronic diseases patients, including elderly patients. DAE action 75 is also contributing to the delivery of the European Innovation Partnership in the field of active and healthy ageing, proposed under the Innovation Union flagship.
Telemedicine is also a promising tool to improve mental health, increase the social impact of public health intervention, provide efficient health support in remote areas, and to respond to the shortage of healthcare professionals and the lack of financial resources.
Everybody will benefit
Citizens: have access to safer and better care with greater choice and new online services resulting in an improved quality of life, better continuity of care and increased accessibility to health systems.
Health providers: improve the efficiency of their organisation providing closer patients' follow-ups.
Health Authorities: thanks to telemedicine, they are able to use their resources more efficiently, increase the accessibility of health systems, improve health coverage, decrease the variability of clinical practices while ensuring better care.
Industry: New markets for personal health & wellness management will emerge.
What has the Commission done so far?
- Used the large scale pilots "Renewing Health" and the Thematic Network "MOMENTUM" to raise awareness of telemedicine benefits
- Launched a call via the 2012 Work Programme to increase further deployment of telemedicine services in chronic disease management; the pilot project is currently under negotiation
- Published a document on the applicability of existing EU legislation to telemedicine services
- Adopted a new eHealth Action plan 2012-2020, further addressing barriers to widespread telemedicine deployment
- EU project epSOS has developed the architecture and common components to pilot patients' cross border access to their health records.
- Launched a call under the 2013 Competitiveness Innovation Programme to:
- implement widespread, real-life solutions for the treatment of mental disorders based on innovative telehealth services (MASTERMIND);
- develop clinical practice guideline for nursing and social care workforce (ENS4Care);
- support deployment of integrated care (CAREWELL, PhysioDom-HDIM, INCA, Beyond Silos);
- support public procurement for innovative solutions (PPI) in eHealth, active and healthy ageing and assisted living (STOPandGO).
- The eHealth Stakeholder Group provided an overview of the "state of play" regarding patients' access to electronic health records.
What will the Commission do next?
- Ensure the progression of 2 pilot projects "SUSTAINS" and "PALANTE" – designed to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data, involving over 20 regions in different Member States.
- The epSOS project will pilot patients' cross border access to their health records and evaluate the service. The epSOS working group, including clinical experts, defined the functional service related to the Patient Summary.
- The eHealth Stakeholder Group will provide an overview of the "state of play" regarding patients' access to electronic health records and telemedicine deployment, assess obstacles to uptake and give recommendations.
- Adoption of a Green Paper on mHealth, accompanied by a Staff Working Document on the EU legal framework applicable to health and wellbeing apps.