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practice EU: Final report of EC-funded study on 'Business Models for eHealth' issued

EU: Final report of EC-funded study on 'Business Models for eHealth' issued

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The final report of the 'Business Models for eHealth study' funded by the ICT for Health unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Information Society and Media was released on 15 May 2010.

The study explored business models for the implementation of value-creating and sustainable eHealth systems in Europe. It was coordinated by an independent non-profit research organisation named RAND Europe, in partnership with an IT services and business consultancy private company.

The final report presents the analysis of the study. It also introduces a set of operational guidelines and policy recommendations for the European Commission and other stakeholders, having as a first objective to improve through eHealth the overall quality and efficiency of the health services; Its second main objective is to consolidate the eHealth services in a mature market where European industry can play a leading role via the provision of innovative technological and organisational solutions.
According to the document, senior management and staff involvement are the key aspects to make sure that business models "do not fall short of reflecting the interactions of those actors who are to use them in their day-to-day professional activities."

Public policy actions need to support the development of 'value-creating business models' for eHealth, the study remarks. National healthcare authorities, health professional associations, healthcare delivery organisations, the industry and the research community need to share perspectives on applicable best practice and experience.

The authors furthermore identified specific public policy options targeted to the European Commission, which is invited to act as the coordination actor for:

  • Launching pilot actions of eHealth-related projects where different business models are tested or simulated using appropriate modelling approaches.
  • Fostering the sharing of specific best practice, for the design of value-creating and sustainable business models for eHealth systems.
  • Defining benchmarking parameters to ensure that individual organisations are able to monitor and compare the way they develop and implement business models for eHealth.
  • Supporting the development of best practice for funding and financing individual eHealth systems, via specific incentives such as tax breaks and/or different reimbursement procedures or co-funding mechanisms.
  • Bringing legal clarity as to facilitate: the identification and authorisation of professional health staff accessing and using personal health data; the safe exchange of medical data across national borders, respecting the need to protect health data and the personal integrity of the patient and, therefore, the rights of patients to give their consent to the use of their medical data.
  • Working towards the solution of technical issues and the facilitation of market developments via interoperability, common medical terminologies and technical standards as well as pre-procurement activities.

The European eHealth market was estimated at €14.2 million in 2008 and is projected to reach €15.6 million by 2012, with a compounded annual growth rate of 2.9 %. eHealth is one of the six market areas in the European Commission's Lead Market Initiative.

Further information:

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