June, 17, 2015
‘EU Member States are facing major health-related and societal challenges that could threaten the sustainability of their healthcare systems.’ This accurate diagnosis calls for urgent political action, at EU and national level. There is a need for innovative solutions, both therapeutic and organizational, that will accompany the health and societal changes. e/mHealth might have the potential to be a game-changer. But to unleash this potential, a comprehensive political strategy going beyond mere technicalities will also be needed, since mHealth is not only a public health issue. The e/mHealth market is growing rapidly and the policy environment cannot lag behind it. This paper aims to identify steps across policy areas for the uptake of mHealth in Europe, namely, research, development and innovation; market access; awareness raising among patients and healthcare practitioners; and integration to the healthcare systems.
e/mHealth should be considered as the building block of a comprehensive political health strategy, contributing to better health and economic outcomes by preventing chronic diseases and redefining the patient’s position within the traditional health care systems. The Big Data, and access to these innovative solutions, and their reimbursement will feature prominently on the EU health policy agenda. The private sector has already recognised the potential of e-/m-health solutions. The lack of regulatory harmonisation is not preventing it from changing the way our healthcare systems are working. Innovations so far relate more to digital solutions than traditional health care services, and the EU can help promote these solutions within the European single market. Most importantly, the EU should go beyond technical regulatory harmonisation and support the entire innovation process, from the laboratory through to uptake by physicians.