The new Commission took
office on 1 December. Vytenis Andriukaitis has been replaced by Stella
Kyriakides as Health Commissioner.
until the end of his tenure, Andriukaitis was working hard to improve European
health. On 13 November 2019, he was invited to the European Patient Forum’s
(EPF) congress and spoke about the role of patients in healthcare, his term in
office and the digital transformation of healthcare in the European Union.
The role of patients
his speech Andriukaitis addressed the five E’s of the EPF’s Patient Empowerment
Campaign: education, experience, expertise, equality and engagement.
Patients these days are
well informed and are capable of acquiring the knowledge required to actively
influence their own health. An individual’s health literacy has a major
influence on their health.
that the wide range of information available also has the potential to spread
false information and fears, for example about vaccination.
is crucial to provide European citizens with reliable and objective information
in order to ensure confidence in the systems and methods of prevention and healthcare.
Digital communication channels can help educate EU citizens.
Andriukaitis then went
on to talk about the experience of healthcare and related services. Their digitalisation
will play a major role in the coming years. Digital applications help to
consolidate fragmented care structures and make it possible for patients to
experience healthcare through digital applications.
regard to the European Union (EU), digital healthcare for patients is becoming
increasingly more tangible due to ePrescriptions. Since the beginning of the
year, 4,000 ePrescriptions have been exchanged in three Member States. Several
countries have now begun to exchange electronic health records. The European
Commission supports the EU-wide exchange of data through its Recommendation on a European Electronic Health Record exchange format put forward in February
terms of the principle of expertise, Andriukaitis highlighted the European
Reference Networks (ERN). They are considered a good example of the success of
cross-border specialised healthcare. Since 2017, 24 ERNs have been established
to improve the treatment of patients with rare diseases.
25 June, the ERN Board of the Member States published a statement on the integration of the ERNs into the national health systems of the Member
European Commission is also actively pursuing further initiatives in the field
of digitalisation. According to the European Commission’s proposal, funding of
innovations planned in the Horizon Europe
programme is likely to be embedded in the Digital Europe
Programme. With a budget of €9.2 billion, the aim of
the Digital Europe Programme is to promote innovation in digital transformation
and interoperability, high performance computing, artificial intelligence,
cybersecurity and trust, and advanced digital skills.