Regions and cities are key to digitalise health and care services across the EU

Intervening at the Informal Health Council meeting today, the President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula welcomed the launch, by the European Commission, of a public consultation on Health and Care in the Digital Single Market. He also underlined the huge potential impact of the work started by regional and local authorities to improve the quality of health and care services by using smart technologies on the ground.
 
"Managing health data and records in a smart, transparent and secure manner and spreading the use of digital applications to promote citizen empowerment and integrated person-centred care are key priorities if we want the digital single market to bring tangible benefits to our citizens, universities and businesses in the strategic field of health and care services", said President Markkula, recalling the intense work done by the Committee to voice the needs of health innovation actors on the ground and promote the best regional strategies.
 
According to President Markkula, "Digital technologies can improve the quality of life of our ageing population, move towards more sustainable health and care systems and deliver new jobs in the Silver Economy." In order to seize these opportunities, a growing number of regions are committed to bring together involved actors including public and private health service and care providers, research and academic organisations, innovative businesses, patients and citizens associations and local authorities. "Many regions, in the shaping and implementing of their Research and Innovation strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), are devoting a growing attention to e-Health and m-Health opportunities. Thanks to RIS3, innovation and growth processes linked to health and care can be steered and boosted by addressing actual needs of regional communities."
 
The Committee has insisted on the need to address demographic change also by mobilising the main EU investment tools, including the European Structural and Investment Funds. In this perspective, "The next generation of investment plans backed by EU cohesion policy should fully take into account the demographic challenge and provide innovative funding solutions".