Influential eHealth conference opens discussion around the right to securely access health data

eHealth Week, European Commission
Commissioner Andriukaitis commented on the right of every citizen to securely access and share their personal health data: “Fifty-two per cent of EU citizens want online access to their health records, according to a survey published today."
story highlights: 
  • Maltese Minister for Health, European Commissioner, Regional Director for WHO and HIMSS CEO kick off eHealth Week 2017
  • Over 1,000 eHealth experts from across Europe have gathered in Malta to exchange knowledge and share best practices as part of the annual eHealth Week conference and exhibition.

  • The three-day event was officially opened this morning at the eHealth Week Opening Plenary and with a symbolic “ribbon cutting” moment on the Exhibition Floor, followed by a VIP Tour. 

VALLETTA, MALTA - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Over 1,000 eHealth experts from across Europe have gathered in Malta to exchange knowledge and share best practices as part of the annual eHealth Week conference and exhibition.

The three-day event was officially opened this morning at the eHealth Week Opening Plenary and with a symbolic “ribbon cutting” moment on the Exhibition Floor, followed by a VIP Tour. Chris Fearn, Minister for Health in Malta, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, Director of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Vytenius Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety and Stephen Lieber, President and CEO of HIMSS opened the conference. The overarching theme of this year’s eHealth Week is 'Data for Health: the key to personalised sustainable care'.  

Commissioner Andriukaitis commented on the right of every citizen to securely access and share their personal health data: “Fifty-two per cent of EU citizens want online access to their health records, according to a survey published today. Electronic health records will empower patients, and help improve clinical practice and continuity of care, by giving health and care practitioners a more comprehensive view of the patient’s medical background and history.

“Whereas the infrastructure for cross-border exchange of e-prescriptions and patient summaries should be operational by 2020, the report calls on the Commission to intensify efforts to ensure that all citizens can, in full privacy and confidence, access and transfer their complete electronic health record when receiving healthcare abroad”.

Dr Jakab added: “The WHO firmly believes that eHealth is a key component in achieving Universal Health Coverage - a collective expression and commitment by Member States to the basic human right of equitable access to healthcare - without the risk of financial ruin or impoverishment”. Dr Jakab described the collaboration of eHealth and Public Health in the European Region as a “beautiful marriage” describing eHealth Week as: “a celebration of our commitment and dedication to reaping the benefits of eHealth for all.”

Data for Health

Lieber reinforced the importance of the conference’s main theme: “The topic around 'Data for Health' is more relevant for the eHealth Community than ever. The numbers speak for themselves: more than half of European healthcare professionals, 54% to be specific, are struggling with exchanging information and data, both internally and externally, within their organisation, according to the HIMSS Europe Annual Survey from 2016”. He also commended the work that was undertaken by the European Cloud in Health Advisory Council led by Microsoft today and their Call to Action on 'Health Data: delivering a better balance for patient privacy and health outcomes'.  He added: “I invite you to review the call to action as an important contribution to the health IT industry and its commitment to patient-centric solution on the re-use of health data”.

During eHealth Week, conference delegates will benefit from several sessions which provide in-depth expert presentations from around the world, including topics around interoperability, social media in healthcare, blockchain and patient empowerment. Attendees are also encouraged to use the various networking opportunities on offer to generate meaningful global business opportunities between companies, health providers and other stakeholders.

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Source: HealthTech Wire