The 2022 EU4Health work programme has been allocated a budget of more than €835 million to boost health systems in Europe, including around €77 million for digital investment.
Formally adopted by the European Commission on 14 January, the new programme, focuses on four key areas: crisis preparedness, disease prevention, health systems and healthcare workforce, and digitalisation.
The digital strand will be allocated funding for the establishment of the European health data space, which aims to promote better exchange and access across members states to health data such as electronic health records (EHRs), genomics data and data from patient registries.
Funding will be provided to eligible entities from member states, associated third countries, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector in the form of grants or procurement of specific services.
WHY IT MATTERS
The creation of a European health data space is intended to support healthcare delivery, health research and health policy making purposes in member states.
It will strengthen the eHealth digital service infrastructure (eHDSI), which offers the [email protected] health data sharing services to patients to ensure continuity of care for while travelling abroad in the EU.
This service allows member states the possibility to exchange health data in a secure, efficient and interoperable way, allowing EU citizens to benefit from healthcare when travelling in the same way they benefit in their country of residence.
Currently [email protected] offers ePrescriptions and patient summaries in eight member states, with others in the process of onboarding. The EU4Health work programme aims to enable people from more member states to access the services and progress towards offering a wider range of services.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The EU4Health programme was launched last year to aid COVID recovery by strengthening the resilience of health systems and promoting medical innovation and digital transformation. It will run until 2027 with a budget of €5.1 billion available to improve and foster health in the European Union (EU).
Also in 2021, the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) was created to be responsible for digital and health projects helping Europe emerge stronger from the pandemic. It is responsible for the implementation of relevant European EU financial programmes including the EU4Health programme, the Digital Europe programme and parts of the research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.
The successful implementation of the EU digital COVID certificate has increased the availability of health data in digital form, including vaccination, test results and medical problems.
ON THE RECORD
A European Commission statement says: “With a budget of over €835 million, the 2022 EU4Health work programme represents an unparalleled level of investment of the EU in health; it ensures financing of ambitious and decisive actions for building stronger, more resilient health systems and for paving the way towards the European Health Union.”
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