Diabetes is a growing health challenge that has raised concerns among policymakers. The World Health Organisation says that 422 million adults have diabetes worldwide and projects that this chronic disease will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030.
People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke if the disease is left undiagnosed or poorly controlled.
The European Union is stepping up its efforts to tackle the issue by taking preventive measures based on healthier lifestyles while e-health practices increasingly gain ground in policymaking.
E-health is considered a promising step to help EU health systems survive in the long run, but issues like the collection of patients’ “big data” are expected to heat up the debate.
The rise of diabetes is causing avoidable deaths and imposing substantial costs on ailing healthcare systems. Alarmed, lawmakers are attempting to improve prevention and get the emerging pandemic under control.
There is a great need to raise awareness and enhance education on diabetes and a healthier lifestyle “at every level”, Stella de Sabata, head of the International Diabetes Federation, told EURACTIV.com.
The right eHealth tools will help healthcare systems adjust to the alarming rise of diabetes and patients to effectively monitor the development of their disease, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said in an interview with EURACTIV.com.
The introduction of digital technology in healthcare systems might be viewed by health stakeholders in a positive light. However, policymakers are yet to address issues related to data collection and use that are considered crucial in the management of chronic conditions like diabetes.
Efforts to digitalise healthcare for chronic disease patients – including those suffering from diabetes – are helpful, according to the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA). But the move towards digitalisation should not exacerbate existing health inequalities, it warns.