As EU-US experts discussed potential areas for transatlantic co-operation on eHealth, the healthcare IT industry urged governments to pave the way for a definitive change in EU healthcare.
An EU-US eHealth
workshop took place on 10 May 2007, just two days after the transatlantic business dialogue on innovation in healthcare. The workshop brought together representatives from the EU member states’ governments and institutions, the US government, academia and industry to discuss areas where transatlantic collaboration could be mutually beneficial. The sessions focused on interoperability, certification and improving patient safety and quality of healthcare through IT.
“EU-US co-operation on eHealth is important as we are both large economic areas with the same characteristics [cf. ageing population]. We need to co-ordinate the development of standards and interoperability in the this field,” said the Commission’s Information Society DG Director-General Fabio Colasanti.
As the US government and EU officials presented the blocks’ respective eHealth agendas to kick off the workshop, Robert M. Kolodner, US national coordinator for health information technology urged “harmonisation in global context to do compatible systems as one moves forward”.
Frans de Bruïne, director at DG Information Society, said that two European large- scale pilot projects were to be launched soon to test European co-operation with regards to the application of improved patient summaries on emergency data set and e-prescription. He also said that the Commission is planning to create “new conditions for wider deployment” of eHealth. These plans include publication, by the end of the year 2007, of a recommendation on interoperability on eHealth.
“Things will change in any case but the question is: is it going fast enough with the increasing demand for healthcare, ageing population and decreasing healthcare workforce. It is also clear that the technology as such is not enough. It needs to be accompanied with an appropriate legal environment and education of healthcare professionals,” de Bruïne added.