This study was commissioned by the Information Society and Media Directorate General with the aim to assess different financing opportunities against the financing needs of eHealth investment. Preliminary observations are available and a final report will be published at the end of the study (end 2008).

Many facets of eHealth financing need to be further developed and improved if investment is to be boosted

The overriding goal is to provide assistance to Member States and the European Commission in their efforts to meet the eHealth Action Plan objective of "supporting and boosting investment in eHealth".

The study focuses on providing insights and specific recommendations on:

  • developing the supply side of eHealth finance to optimise the use of resources available for boosting investment in eHealth, including ways to add value through collaboration between Member States;
  • effective and efficient management of eHealth investment to support health services providers, i.e. the demand side.

These recommendations aim to help close the gap between supply of and demand for eHealth financing, and thus support Member States and the European Commission in their activities.

The following preliminary observations will be further explored and developed during the rest of the Financing eHealth study:

There are several sources of finance for eHealth investment, and several models of eHealth financing that can be used to procure them. A common theme seems to be that eHealth financing is not robustly integrated into the factors that ensure success. An overemphasis on finance for ICT to the detriment of change and benefits realisation may be prevalent. Similarly, it seems that finance for the whole eHealth investment life-cycle may not be adequate. Instead, financing opportunities address a limited and often insufficient time period of the life-cycle. When these conclusions are set alongside those of the project’s report Conceptual framework, healthcare and eHealth investment context and challenges, many facets of eHealth financing need to be further developed and improved if investment is to be boosted.

Topics for improvement include enhanced facilities to navigate the diversity of financing sources; integrating the policies and use of funds and improving the co-ordination of EC funds. In addition, a specific focus and understanding of some financing sources on eHealth investment could be a considerable advantage in boosting eHealth investment.

A workshop on “Innovative Approaches to Financing eHealth solutions” was held at the World of Health IT conference in Vienna on October 25th 2007. It featured contributions by decision-makers from European and North American health-services as well as international health provider and funding organisations. The results of the discussions are important input to the Financing eHealth study. Visit the workshop page for more information.