European Union eHealth Task Force Report

The European Union eHealth Task Force just released a report entitled "Redesigning Health in Europe for 2020".   This is an excellent and concise report on changes the EU nations need to make to radically improve the way these countries and their citizens manage and receive health care.

The report focuses on how to achieve a vision of affordable, less intrusive and more personalized care. Their vision calls on the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) and 'open' access to healthcare data to increase the quality of life and improve mortality rates for its citizens.

The eHealth Task Force report provides a list of key observations and recommendations on what should be done now to ensure that Europe reaps the full benefits of eHealth in 2020.

Some of the key points presented in the Task Force report include the following:

  • A radical redesign of healthcare is needed, integrating health and social care services configured around the needs of the patient.
  • Information & Communications Technology (ICT) are key to helping the EU healthcare system respond to the major challenges they face, by delivering greater efficiency, lower costs and better health outcomes.
  • Unfortunately, healthcare is a decade behind most other sectors in adopting and using information technology tools.
  • There must be a shift in the power relationships within health¬care, away from the unrestrained authority of the medical professional towards a more collaborative partnership with patients.
  • Citizens must take on a greater responsibility and more active role in managing their own wellbeing.
  • Data can be compared to oil: In the ground it is unusable and worthless. Extracted and refined, it has huge value. Large amounts of data currently sit in different silos within health and social care systems that could be released and used to transform the way healthcare is provided.
  • Governments should ensure that reliable health data is gathered in a standard way and made freely available to anyone that can add value to it.
  • Each country has a very different culture and way of organiz¬ing their healthcare system. There is no unique eHealth model that can be imposed on all countries, but the experience of others and 'lessons learned', should be shared . This means transfer¬ring knowledge rather than solutions.

The findings, lessons learned, and recommendations in this EU eHealth Task Force report could be applied to the U.S. and other regions of the world. In fact many of these steps are aleady being taken in the U.S. You can download a copy at from portal here