The European Commissions’ eHealth Stakeholder Group supports the Commission in the development of actions for the digital transformation of health and care in the EU. As a member of the group, EuroHealthNet has proposed five priories for the next 12 months.
Digital innovation in health, when developed hand in hand with programmes enhancing health literacy and digital literacy, can have positive effects on the efficiency and sustainability of health systems. It has the potential to improve health outcomes across social gradients.
Our overarching recommendation is to embed Health inequalities and health in all the group’s activities related to the handling of data and development and implementation of digital tools in health.
Our five specific recommendations concern:
- Standardising the design of digital tools (‘usability’) to ensure they are safe, comprehensible, easy to use and accessible. The ISO/IEC effectivity and reliability criteria for health and wellness can be considered in developing European standards.
- Supporting professionals (including through up- and re-skilling) to fully take advantage of new digital health technologies also in their work with lower socio-economic groups. eHealth and digital tools will need to be promoted as part of sustainable local health policies and implemented through community approaches, with local schemes for guidance and support to make them work for everyone.
- Developing sound digital infrastructures with high quality data that add value to health systems in a non-discriminatory way. This includes ensuring that AI algorithms are designed reflecting the needs, preferences and expectations of vulnerable groups. This also means that people with less digital or health literacy, migrants, people with less education, older people, people with disabilities etc., are adequately included in questionnaires and focus groups as part of the underpinning research.
- Defining common European standards to overcome the lack of interoperability of data between different health settings and projects. This should include guidelines to ensure issues of data protection, anonymisation and privacy are addressed to avoid harms from private interests, ineptitude or inadequacy.
- Improving people’s digital health literacy, allowing everybody to not only actively manage their personal health and care, but also to increase their understanding of the quality of apps, their marketing, what their data is being used for and other relevant issues.
Find our suggestions for first year priorities of the EC eHealth Stakeholder Group here.