Digital Health Policies & Strategiesin Digital Health Research & Innovation
Countries across Europe have adopted strategies reflecting the European Digital Health Action Plan, and globally most WHO Member States have by now drafted similar strategies and are creating infrastructures in support of Digital Health applications. Through numerous studies and projects, empirica has supported these efforts, at regional, national or the European Union level. We have also carried out studies commissioned by WHO, the Commonwealth Office, and the European Space Agency, or concerned with sub-Sahara Africa. Our emphasis is not so much on the technology as on barriers and enablers beyond technology. The focus is on integrating the views and expectations of stakeholder groups directly involved or impacted, and the benefits and costs to them, as well as on infrastructure elements and generic solutions in support of health policy priorities and interoperability requirements for patient data exchange, public health priorities, and clinical research. At the governance level, we have analysed administrative responsibility and competence centers, stakeholder engagement, legal and regulatory facilitators, financing and reimbursement, and evaluation activities. Cross-country challenges include patient summaries and electronic health records, ePrescription, telehealth, electronic identifiers, and eCards, as well standardisation. We identified seven key success factors: health policy vision and leadership, focus on health professional and stakeholder engagement and needs, establishment of strong trust by all actors, regional rather than national focus, reliable infrastructure components, training, and guidance and control through impact assessment and evaluation.