It has sometimes felt as if Europe was waiting for the breakthrough that truly defined the Digital Health revolution. However, in reality, the revolution has already happened, without fuss or fanfare. Quietly and unobtrusively, healthcare systems now increasingly rely on digital technology; it is now embedded as part of modern healthcare management. In the future, 2016 will be seen as the year Digital Health reached critical mass; 2017 will be the year when it is recognised as mainstream.
As 2017 will be pivotal for Digital Health, COCIR wants to take the opportunity to reflect on recent evolutions and what future developments will require. For this reason, COCIR plans to publish a series of articles, opinions and presentations that helped shaping current thinking on the future of Digital Health. We will also look forward to what will be the landmark events during such pivotal year.
Probably the standout event in a busy year was the COCIR 2016 Third Annual eHealth Summit, held in December under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing. Keynote speaker Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Health Commissioner singled out the contribution of digital technology in modernising healthcare. He also reminded the audience of the Commission’s vision of ensuring that “digitally enabled innovation for health, demographic change and wellbeing translates into a win for Europe.”
Digital Health is poised to improve the quality of health and care for citizens while helping create the sustainable health, wellness and care systems needed to meet the demands of Europe’s ageing population. At the same time, Digital health will also play an important role in job and growth of economies.
These are not ambitions or aspirations. These are real challenges for health and care, where digital technology is already proving to be a game-changer. Policymakers and society increasingly look first to technology to maximise the benefits of healthcare. As we move towards truly integrated care, society as a whole will embrace digital technology as part of their health and wellness.
The posts over the coming weeks will give you a flavour of what to expect - and what to look out for - in this pivotal year.
18 January 2017