e-Health: better health and healthcare through the use of information and communications technologiesComments Off on e-Health: better health and healthcare through the use of information and communications technologies

The European Commission has adopted on 30 April an action plan showing how information and communication technologies can be used to deliver better quality health care Europe-wide. The “e-Health action plan” covers everything from electronic prescriptions and computerised health records to using new systems and services to cut waiting times and reduce errors.

The Commission envisages setting a “European e-Health Area”, through work on the application of electronics to health records, patient identifiers and health cards.

The action plan sets out several objectives:

  • By 2005, Member State should develop their own roadmaps for e-Health, and an EU public health portal should be up and running to provide a one-stop shop access to health information.

  • By 2006, work should be well advanced on key issues such as developing a common approach to data allowing patients to be identified and putting standards in place which mean that all the different parts of healthcare networks can talk to each other and read and exchange patient information.

  • By 2008 health information networks should be commonplace, delivering services over fixed and wireless broadband networks and making the most of networks within so called “Grids” to boost computing power and the interaction between different systems.

The action plan is the third element of the Commission’s package of new initiatives in the health area. The two other activities address patient mobility and the benchmarking of national reforms in health care, long-term care and social protection.

Commission’s Communication “e-Health – making healthcare better for European citizens: An action plan for a European e-Health Area”