In a Communication published on Wednesday 19 May, the European Commission outlined a Digital Agenda for the EU, with particular reference to eHealth.

The Communication is the first of the flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and outlines seven priority areas for action:

– creating a digital Single Market
– greater interoperability
– boosting internet trust and security
– much faster internet access
– better investment in research and development
– enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion
– applying information and communication technologies to address challenges facing society.

Under the final priority area, the Commission sets out a strategy to invest in “eHealth”. The measures provided for in the Digital Agenda will serve to promote standardisation, interoperability testing and certification of electronic health records and equipment. It also supports the expansion of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies, which ensure that older and disabled citizens can live independently and be active in society.

Under the chapter on eHealth, the Commission proposes two key actions:

1. Undertake pilot actions to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data by 2015 and to achieve widespread deployment of telemedicine services by 2020

2. Propose a recommendation defining a minimum common set of patient data for interoperability of patient records to be accessed or exchanged electronically across member states by 2012.

The Communication follows the Conclusions of the 2980th Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, which called on Member States to work on initiatives aiming at enabling the deployment and use of eHealth services.

For further information
Europe 2020 Strategy
European Commission eHealth

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