Barriers To eHealth Deployment Must Be Overcome
At the first World of Health IT Conference and Exhibition in Geneva today, representatives of the European healthcare IT and ICT industry gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing eHealth solutions in Europe today. The meeting was organised by COCIR, the European trade association for the radiology, electromedical and healthcare IT industry and HINE, a Deloitte market research project in the domain of eHealth.
eHealth solutions have great potential to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare. They can address the challenges of the ageing society, the increasing demand for healthcare and governments’ budgetary concerns on the rising costs of healthcare. And yet there are still many barriers in place which prevent eHealth solutions from achieving their full potential. Fragmentation of healthcare organisations often prevents the necessary investment to optimise the whole process across the care cycle.
Reimbursement schemes too are often focused on a fee-for-service approach instead of seeking to optimise the complete care cycle, where the deployment of eHealth has great benefits. The vastly different approaches to eHealth by the introduction of e.g. patient summaries and medication records in some countries prevent the eHealth market from reaching a sufficient economy of scale to provide cost-effective solutions for European citizens.
The meeting ended with a renewed plea to the European Commission and the Member States to remove barriers to eHealth. Further cooperation between the various national programmes is essential to harmonize their eHealth roadmaps and to achieve optimal interoperability.
The European Healthcare IT industry is ready to cooperate with the EU, Member States and the national healthcare IT institutes to accelerate the efficient deployment of eHealth solutions.
In addition to many representatives from the European Healthcare IT and IT industry, the meeting was also attended by representatives from various national industry associations, including those from the USA and Canada. To support the harmonization of eHealth roadmaps and deployment in the various European countries, COCIR, as an association at European level, and the national industry associations agreed to cooperate more closely together.
*COCIR represents the radiology, electromedical and healthcare IT in Europe.
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