The European Union is definitely bent on pushing new healthcare disciplines forward. Their advantages are obvious to us, and we want to make sure that the citizens can see it this way as well. I think it´s appropriate to underline the importance of the digital single market strategy as a framework.
This strategy deals with more issues than just mHealth and eHealth, as it tries to guarantee that we can use a set of solutions across borders, to provide a better access to consumers and businesses, to increase trust and security (a very present barrier for many investors in the market)... The European market is also interested in fostering a stronger set of services, a stark and inclusive data economy and society in where interoperability and standardization are present.
The public consultation on the digital single market strategy was published recently, so we are trying to encourage our stakeholders to give us their input on that aspect. We believe that enhancing the digital economy is a key to preserve healthcare as a fundamental human right, as these technologies can help us deliver health with a greater efficiency and an easier access. Last, but not least, a very important issue for European healthcare is making sure that the consumer is protected both offline and online, which is a huge concern for many people, and thus we may have to update our current legislations soon to protect consumers from faulty or malignant apps.
The digital economy is a key to preserve healthcare as a fundamental human right
On the side of the industry, and as I said earlier, interoperability and standardization will imply that many citizens will be able to obtain healthcare in different countries other than their own, and using mHealth and eHealth apps and services to empower themselves. I believe that the Big Data and security frameworks will produce a very personalized healthcare field that the sector´s companies will have to adapt to, but at the same time the advances brought by mHealth and eHealth will probably boost research for both institutions and companies, as the huge amounts of data provided by consumers will help us establish links faster than we have done in the past.
It is also important to highlight the role that the media plays in our efforts to promote these new practices and habits in healthcare and everyday habits. Some citizens may not fully understand the benefits of mHealth and eHealth, and here is where journals and magasines such as SmartHealth can help by spreading the message and explaining how new technologies can guide them into a healthier life. Health is, after all, an issue that almost everyone takes an interest in, and people like to read about new developments and breakthroughs in scientific areas that can improve their lives. Because of this, magazines and media can improve the popularity of digital solutions and the win-win scenario that they offer: a kinder, more innovative healthcare for the citizens, and more affordable for the European states.
Head of Unit, eHealth and Well Being, DG CONNECT, European Commission