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Brussels, 14 January 2014
Neelie Kroes welcomes European Parliament endorsement of eHealth Action Plan
Neelie Kroes today welcomed the support of the European Parliament for the eHealth Action Plan which address barriers to the full use of digital solutions in Europe's healthcare systems. MEPs today voted on a resolution in support of the plan to improve healthcare for the benefit of patients, give patients more control of their care and bring down costs. (see IP/12/133 and MEMO/12/959).
Welcoming the vote, Neelie Kroes said "I want to thank Pilar Auyso for her positive approach to the eHealth Action Plan for 2012-2020. Her report and Parliament's support underlines and strengthens the EU's common vision on eHealth. In particular, I welcome the Parliament's insistence on the importance of interoperability of eHealth systems and the need for the Commission to take a leading role in establishing international standards and an EU eHealth Interoperability Framework. The Commission will be working on these for the rest of the mandate.
Plainly speaking, eHealth will only have a future in Europe if our homes, hospitals, healthcare centres and public services can connect to affordable high-speed internet connections. eHealth needs ultra-fast broadband. For this we need a connected continent and we need a stronger telecoms single market. I look forward to the support of MEPs on this in the coming weeks."
The Commission presented the eHealth Action Plan 2014-2020 in response to the 2009 request of Member States. To prepare the new plan, the Commission ran a public consultation in 2011. The Digital Agenda for Europe includes three specific actions on eHealth aimed at widespread deployment of telemedicine, patients' access to their health data and interoperability.
Despite the economic crisis, the global telemedicine market grew from $9.8 billion in 2010 to $11.6 billion in 2011, while the global mHealth market is set to grow to €17.5 billion a year by 2017. Some EU governments are spending up to 15% of their budgets on healthcare.
In September 2013, the commission presented legislative package for a "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" to build a connected, competitive continent and enable sustainable digital jobs and industries (IP/13/828 and MEMO/13/779). In particular the package aims to strengthen the telecoms sector and foster public and private sector investment in high speed broadband internet"
Commission proposal on Connected Continent regulation
Website on Connected Continent: a single telecom market for growth & jobs