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Europe’s eHealth Action Plan

Within Europe and globally, national health systems are facing similar sets of challenges. Sharing of information and cooperation are powerful tools to offer support to countries in achieving their health objectives, and to foster the development and competitiveness of a growing eHealth industry in Europe. A more structured approach to integrated, interoperable eHealth systems and services offers a great step forward. Work towards the development of such an approach has received increasing support from both European health and ICT authorities and stakeholders.

To take fuller advantage of the potential of eHealth, the European Commission published its Action Plan for a European eHealth Area in April 2004.

The plan comprises three targets:

  • Addressing common challenges and creating the right framework to support eHealth,
  • Setting up pilot actions to jump start eHealth delivery, and
  • Sharing of best practices and measuring progress.

Good eHealth was initiate by the European Commission to enable this part of its eHealth Action Plan

eHealth also forms an important part of the European Union’s strategic framework "i2010 - A European Information Society for growth and employment". This framework focuses on the three crucial areas of a European health information space, innovation in all eHealth initiatives, and the greater access, involvement and inclusion of Europe’s citizens and other stakeholders in healthcare provision through electronic means.

In the same year, the United States of America also launched ambitious plans for eHealth.

In 2005, the WHO followed suit by agreeing on a long-term strategic plan for eHealth. The OECD is also currently studying and documenting good practice in eHealth in its member countries.