Digitalisation as a European health strategy
European Committee of the Regions calls for better alignment and coordination between European and national digital plans.
SJS/AD – 04/2019
European Committee of the Regions (CoR) voted unanimously in favour of its opinion
‘Digitalisation in the health sector’. This
is in reference to the Commission Communication ‘on enabling the digital
transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering
citizens and building a healthier society’ [COM(2018) 233 final].
opinion states that progress in this area varies considerably from country to
country. The future of national health and care systems depends largely on
whether a sustainable European solution for the cross-border digitalisation of health
and care systems can be found.
Call for joint action
improvements in occupational mobility, cross-border healthcare and the
availability of safer medicines, digitalisation is now the next hurdle to be
overcome. ‘The digital transformation of health systems in Europe is crucial to
develop more effective healthcare models’, said Rapporteur Fernando López Miras.
It is particularly important to promote the priorities of the Commission
Communication, such as eHealth/mHealth, interoperability of electronic health
record systems, and digital infrastructures. Cooperation should be strengthened
to ensure sustainable healthcare for the benefit of citizens.
its opinion, the CoR also welcomes the Commission’s stated intention to
accelerate the digitalisation of healthcare in Europe. Although the Commission
wants to achieve this by investing in corresponding programmes, the budgetary
resources made available to date are far from sufficient, which is why they have
to be substantially increased in the EU’s financial framework plan for the
Call for better coordination
Committee calls on the Commission to overcome the obstacles of European
decentralised levels of government and administration. In particular, eHealth
should be better coordinated between regions, the public and private sectors,
research institutions and other stakeholders so that geographically isolated
areas (islands, mountainous regions, EU remote areas) can also be adequately serviced.
terms of genome data, the CoR also considers it important to improve
coordination between Europe-wide initiatives so that the health data obtained
can be used more efficiently by society as a whole. However, data protection is
an indispensable prerequisite for the further digitalisation of healthcare
systems. Patients should therefore be made aware of how to deal with health
data and be given assistance in acquiring health literacy.