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 governmentsâ 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.
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COCIR is the voice of the European Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry. COCIR is a non-profit trade association, founded in 1959, representing the medical technology industry in Europe. COCIR's members play a driving role in developing the future of healthcare in Europe and worldwide. COCIR moved to Brussels in January 2006, establishing a permanent office in Brussels to better represent industry in its relations with the European institutions.
HINE (Health Information Network Europe): HINE is a new style of market information service. It provides practical market information to the IT industry and helps shape how eHealth is dealt with in Europe.HINE's mission is therefore to assist its subscribers in fostering eHealth roll-out in Europe by means of one stop access to key eHealth information (present day situation, evolutions, future needs & demands of all relevant actors) based on a yearly programme of activities.