COCIR eHealth toolkit
Develop an innovative sustainable business model
eHealth is an important tool to achieve the sustainability of healthcare systems, but an innovative business model for eHealth is
needed urgently. The WHO Global Observatory on eHealth5 report stresses that “even the most progressive eHealth policies are at risk if not
supported by an adequate and complementary funding environment”. The current payment systems often do not encourage care
providers to invest in eHealth and do not reward providers for improving quality of care via ICTs. In addition, the costs and benefits
of adopting new technologies are not shared equally among the stakeholders: investments which are cost-effective from the point
of view of the system as a whole are therefore not automatically going to be undertaken. Reducing the financial barriers, shifting
or sharing the financial risks and providing more evidence on the benefits of eHealth can accelerate the adoption of eHealth.
- Consider eHealth as a worthwhile investment, not as a cost
- Measure the non-financial impact of eHealth to make informed funding decisions
- Finance the deplyment of eHealth
- Improving public procurement
- Financial incentives to support the adoption and use of eHealth
- Finance eHealth through the Structural Funds
- Develop reimbursement mechanisms for eHealth services
Foster standards and interoperability
Standards are necessary to secure three crucial aspects of eHealth: interoperability, patient safety and privacy. These are prerequisites
for the development of eHealth in Europe.
Additionally, standards have a strong impact on eHealth costs, as the process of transferring data between different systems
responding to the same standards becomes more economical.
However standard setting is a complex activity, which does not always address market needs. Standards can be complex to
implement and the lack of interoperability standards and profiles contributes to market fragmentation in Europe, with its many
small, differentiated markets. This inevitably results in a lack of economies of scale for companies which offer eHealth-related
goods and services. This in turn leads to higher costs for users, and a slow take-up of eHealth solutions as experience is
transmitted slowly between markets in different countries.
- Foster international standards
- Foster user and market-driven standards
- Promote interoperability at EU and international level
- Reduce the regulatory burden
Enable market development
eHealth is the fastest growing industry of the healthcare sector. COCIR estimates the global eHealth market at €55 billion of which
Europe represents one third. All market players and observers agree that eHealth is set for explosive growth but that many factors
hinder the development of the eHealth market in Europe.
Besides the lack of an adequate economic model (see section 1) and technical barriers (see section 2), other barriers which
hinder the development of the eHealth market include lack of legal clarity, slow adoption of eHealth by healthcare professionals
and societal challenges.
- Bring legal clarity
- Build IT skills among healthcare professionals
- Empower patient and boost patient-centric healthcare systems