Can eHealth give a political and economic advantage?

A study commissioned by Michał Boni,MEP attempts to explore the eHealth development rate among European countries and how various outcomes and solutions might contribute to more cost efficient healthcare systems. The study was presented at the European Parliament (EPPE) on the 8th June 2017.

The study authors ambitiously say:

“eHealth has quickly become a symbol of the democratisation of healthcare, as well as an opportunity to meet the challenges caused by an ageing society, the epidemic of non-communicable and chronic diseases and the dramatically rising costs of healthcare.”

In practice, the study notes:

  • a lack of harmonisation of eHealth implementation within the EU and
  • unsatisfactory access to cross-border healthcare.

According to the authors, the implementation of electronic health records, ePrescriptions and national eHealth programmes varies significantly across Member States.

“Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Spain and Sweden have the most developed eHealth solutions. Countries with poor results are Belgium, Germany, France and Italy. eHealth is the least developed in Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Poland and Cyprus. Austria, Ireland and Hungary also have a relatively low score.”

Investment returns

The study estimates:

“A 2:1 return on eHealth investment. When benefits were given a euro value, the average breakeven point for the ten eHealth initiatives studied was five years.”

The authors project that “on average these solutions could reduce the health expenditures of most European countries by 0.31% GDP or 5% less spent on health by the taxpayer. A more conservative assumption connected only with eHealth usage as ePrescriptions, ICT systems and fraud control could lower the expenditures of about 0.13% GDP, which saves about 2% on the health budget (or makes these funds available for other treatments).”

The study makes several recommendations, such as ensuring the universal deployment of standardised electronic health records, the creation of European registers of chronic diseases and the improvement of research data exchange between EU Member States.

A.G.Rumpie says: Until ehealth, mhealth et al can make a direct contact with the general population at large it will most likely remain as only a tool for national health systems.

See report at:

Transforming eHealth into a political and economic advantage’ by Piotr Arak and Anna Wójcik (Polityka Insight), 2017

 

 

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