#SmartHealthSystems study, the Bertelsmann Stiftung compared and analysed
countries of varying size and differing types of health systems, among these
were 14 EU Member States (including Estonia, Denmark and Germany) and three
OECD countries (Australia, Canada and Israel). Each of these 17 countries was
benchmarked and then evaluated with a new Digital Health Index developed
specifically for the study. The index looks at policy activities and
strategies, their technical implementation and the actual use of health data by
the countries tested.
Digital Health Index comparison shows that EU Member States and OECD countries
are digitalising their health systems at very different speeds. Estonia,
Denmark and Canada rank at the top of the index, whereas Germany is one of the
countries that is lagging.
so far none of the countries surveyed has achieved complete digitalisation,
i.e. a perfect state of digitalisation. The study also shows that there is no
evidence that the size or infrastructure of a country, the type of healthcare
system or the resources available necessarily facilitate digital
Why are some countries more successful than others?
look at the successful countries shows that there is no simple recipe for successfully
digitalising a healthcare system. However, a clear pattern can be seen: in
countries that have found effective digital solutions, the digitalisation of
health systems has been given priority by political leaders. There is also
broad support from stakeholders involved in decision-making; this is further
supported by the exchange of data and good practice.
What can we learn from the study?
study shows that the progress being made by the European Union’s Member States
in the digital transformation of their healthcare systems varies. Countries
that are successfully digitalising their health systems owe this to a
combination of an effective strategy, strong political leadership and a
coordinating institution with a clear national mandate.
European Commission and Member States should continue to promote the exchange
of best practices between health systems and promote common technical specifications
and standards for digital health tools and exchange formats.
study is available here.