Digital technology is increasingly changing the way we design and deliver health and care services. From simple online registration systems to robotics, artificial intelligence and sophisticated algorithms, digital solutions are facilitating person-centered care provision and accelerating diagnosis and treatment. This transformation has been pushed further by the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave an impetus to speed up digitalisation in the health sector, but also highlighted existing issues.
Indeed, despite many European initiatives and good practices at national, regional and local level, a full digital health transformation is still hampered by a series of challenges and obstacles. These are linked, for instance, to skills and literacy, lack of interoperability and infrastructures, and different levels of "digital readiness" across Europe. In this complex environment, the war in Ukraine has opened up additional scenarios, highlighting for instance how Electronic Health Records and health data portability could prove essential to support Member States' and local health systems coping with exceptional challenges and with the need to ensure the right of access to healthcare.
In this context, the EU has devoted much energy over the past two years to charting a common path towards digitalisation as a cornerstone of the European Health Union project and linked to Europe Digital Decade's objectives. This centrality is reflected, for instance, in the Recovery and Resilience Facility instrument and the Horizon Europe partnership on Transforming Health and Care Systems. The creation of a European Health Data Space, the new EU Care Strategy and other European initiatives will further enhance the digital transition of health and care delivery and help Member States strengthen their health and care systems.
By taking stock of the current state of play, focusing on key initiatives, exploring current experiences and challenges, the CoR, the Commission and EUREGHA are joining forces to discuss how the digital health transformation can nurture quality and efficiency of health and care provision, empower citizens and boost resilience and sustainability and what is truly needed to achieve it across Europe, putting a particular focus on the role of regional and local health authorities in driving this change forward.
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