Informal EU Health Ministers’ meeting

On 10 and 11 September the Austrian Presidency hosted an informal meeting of the EU Health Ministers.

At the meeting regulatory and policy-related challenges related to the supply of centrally authorized medicines and investment in digital health was discussed. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, also participated in the discussion. 

The meeting focused in detail on the use of modern electronic communication means in healthcare and investment in digital health. The Member States were generally supportive of further investments at EU and national- regional level and of interoperability of health data. They realized that due to technical barriers, large parts of the existing digital infrastructure in the healthcare system are not, or only to a very limited extent, suitable for data exchange outside their respective organisations. Therefore they agreed to identify concrete steps to be taken in order to overcome these barriers. 

The Director General Roberto Viola (DG Connect, European Commission) reiterated that the exchange of Electronic Health Records between institutions and between did not concern harmonization but interoperability. He pointed out that digital care is part of the digital single market strategy and that its implementation would provide significant savings on healthcare spending, better healthcare for patients and opportunities for business. 

As a result of the discussions, the EU member states agreed to work closely with the services of the Commission within the framework of the eHealth Network in order to develop a guideline for targeted Europe-wide promotion and investment programmes in the eHealth sector. 

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis:

  • called on the Member States to support the development of eHealth and to tackle technical, legal and political barriers that currently limit cross-border data exchange;
  • pointed out the need to build on the momentum created by the Estonian Presidency Council Conclusions and by the Commission’s Communication on digital transformation of health and care;
  • expressed the need for significant financial investments both on national and EU level in order to deploy a modern and interoperable health infrastructure in the EU; 
  • expressed his willingness to create an EU Health Data Centre that would enable the joint collection and sharing of data across the EU; 
  • urged Health Ministers to prioritise digital health, align their approaches and make full use of instruments available at EU level. 

For more information, the official press-release of the Austrian Council Presidency can be found via this link.


Date: 08/10/2018 | Tag: | News: 842 of 886
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