Digital Agenda: Kroes & Borg welcome recognition of the contribution ICT can make in reforming health systems

14 May 2013 09:51 AM

A declaration by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU committing Member States to developing eHealth ecosystems that could contribute to the reform of health systems has been welcomed by European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Health Commissioner Tonio Borg. The Irish Presidency presented the Declaration at the Ministerial eHealth High Level Conference in Dublin on May 13th. eHealth ecosystems pool the resources of health and social care providers, industry, research institutions, authorities and end users throughout Europe to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative solutions such as eHealth to specific problems in health and social care.

Neelie Kroes said: "eHealth ecosystems could be the answer to the strain our social security systems are undergoing. If we work together and we use the enormous potential technology has to offer us, we can ensure top healthcare for all in Europe".

Tonio Borg said: “I agree that building ecosystems, bringing together all the different players is a promising way forward. We very much promote this type of approach under the European Union Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy ageing. Here we bring together partners such as industry, health professionals, policy makers, patients and carers to shape innovative solutions".

eHealth ecosystems could, among others, support the health reform process in Europe, help us better understand healthcare needs and make the introduction of new and innovative public/private business models in healthcare easier. They facilitate mutually beneficial research and innovation of the highest quality and may lead to an increased use of new technology and services that improve patient care.

Ministers agreed that the aims of eHealth ecosystems could be achieved by:

  • Strengthening coordination of all policies related to eHealth, from support to research and deployment, to developing a legal framework in specific areas like medical devices, patient safety, information security and interoperability.

  • Promoting mutual learning and sharing of good experiences inside ecosystems between purchasers and providers, academia, citizens, industry and throughout the public and private sector health industry.

  • Allowing innovative concepts, products and services to create new markets by applying new sets of rules, values and models, and

  • Accelerating the implementation of existing and proven devices and processes through intensive innovation techniques and innovative procurement tools to ensure that citizens receive the benefits in a shorter timeframe, by delivering on existing priorities.


The Ministerial eHealth High Level Conference is part of eHealth Week. The Conference is co-organised by the Irish Presidency and the Commission.

The eHealth Task Force Report "Redesigning health in Europe for 2020" stresses the significance of the expanding digital environment. The European eHealth Action Plan 2012 – 2020 – Innovative healthcare for 21st century includes action to establish successful ecosystems.

Useful links

Irish presidency declaration eHealth Week

European eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020

Health in the Digital Agenda

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