Enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the EU


Publication of Commission Communication on eHealth

The European Commission presented its views on e-health and proposed a set of measures to facilitate the digital transformation of health and care in a Communication published on 25 April. It sets out how digital innovations can be used to promote health, prevent and control diseases, help address patients' unmet needs and make it easier for citizens to have equal access to high quality care.

The EU legislative framework on the Digital Single Market is gradually expanding. The Communication on e-health was published on the same day as several other EU initiatives setting out digital policy such as a Communication on Artificial Intelligence and a Communication on establishing a common European Data Space.

The Commission intends to take further action in three areas:

  • Citizens’ secure access to and sharing of health data across borders
  • Better data to advance research, disease prevention and personalised health and care
  • Digital tools for citizen empowerment and person-centred care

The Commission recognises the potential benefits of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, High Performance Computing and data analytics in providing faster diagnosis, ensuring better treatment and developing new healthcare products.

More specifically, the Commission proposes to enhance coordination between authorities throughout the EU to implement the secure exchange of data to advance research and personalised medicine. This will, amongst other things, “build on digital patient predictive approaches based on computer modelling, simulations and artificial intelligence”. The availability of high quality data, technological infrastructure and an appropriate regulatory framework are critical to achieving this and ensuring the effective use of digital technologies.

To translate these objectives into concrete actions, the Commission will mobilise funds from Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility, support the development of technical specifications for secure access and the cross-border exchange of datasets, and launch pilot actions to demonstrate the benefits of digital technologies. These pilot actions will focus on research, disease prevention, personalised medicine and health technology assessment. A mechanism for the voluntary cooperation between authorities and stakeholders to share data and infrastructure for prevention and personalised medicine research will also be set up.

Should you be interested in reading more about this initiative, the press release and the communication published by the Commission are available online.

Source infographic: European Commission 2018