Health Ministers in Europe Agree on the Way Forward
|Health Ministers in Europe Agree on the Way Forward|
3 June 2005
At the annual ministerial eHealth conference held this year in Tromsø, Norway, the health ministers of Europe agreed that there was a ‘pressing need for a more integrated and interoperable European health information space’. The importance of helping the mobile citizen to obtain adequate healthcare trans-nationally has been a central theme of the Telemedicine Alliance’s (TMA) vision, which was circulated at this conference, together with the teams draft recommendations to lower the barriers to interoperability between health systems.
European Ministerial eHealth Conference
The ministers of health of the European Union’s Member States gathered on 23-24 May to discuss and agree on how to move forward to achieve interoperable and integrated Health across Europe using a consolidated coordinated approach to the application of ICT to healthcare. It is anticipated that advances will be made on all fronts of healthcare whether strengthening protection against health threats with adequate surveillance, or utilizing smart electronic cards together with interoperable health information systems and electronic health records. Together with coordinated approach to benchmarking and identification of best practises, solid progress should be made on both citizen and professional mobility. This holistic approach has been the basis of TMA’s message to Europe, also contained in the results of TMA’s work and recommendations circulated at the conference.
Tromsø: a non-EU venue, but most appropriate for Telemedicine
Surprisingly to many, the conference was held in a non-EU country, Norway, in one of the most northern and remote cities in Europe. This symbolized the importance that the government of Norway lays on participation in coordinated action together with the 25 EU Member States. This city, also boasts a WHO sponsored centre for Telemedicine – most appropriately because of its remote location, being also the kick-off point for the North Pole explorers of a century ago.
Invited delegates only participated at this important event
Dr. Kass and Ms. Diop, ESA, of the TM Alliance team, were amongst the select group of participants at this invitation-only conference, where delegates from governments, key international organisations, and industry, from most European countries including many from eastern Europe, as well as representatives from some non-European countries whose approaches and contributions to this important field had to be heard, such as USA and Canada. This was an excellent opportunity for the TMA team to meet with this unique congregation of representatives and exchange information.