The Dutch Presidency of the EU Council, the European Commission and HIMSS Europe have announced the programme for eHealth Week 2016, an event that will take place in Amsterdam. Experts from across Europe will share best practices, amongst others about eMental Health, the online prevention and treatment of mental health conditions.
The Netherlands is one of the leading countries in eMental Health practice. Two out of three Dutch mental health care institutions apply eMental Health in their care provision and in the communication with patients. According to research from GGZ Netherlands, approximately 100.000 Dutch patients make use of eMental Health. Moreover, between 60 and 70 per cent of Dutch mental healthcare patients are receptive to the idea of eMental Health.
All in all, the programme of eHealth Week will provide a variety of sessions connected to the themes: Empowerment of the People, Trust & Standards and Social Innovations & Transitions.
How to protect your privacy while using mHealth apps
A Code of Conduct can help App developers are often small companies or individuals and may lack the legal expertise to take complex data protection rules into account and apply them to their mobile health apps. This coincides with the current lack of trust by citizens in these apps as demonstrated by the results of the European Commission's mHealth Green Paper consultation and other studies.
In order to improve this situation and to help app developers comply with data protection principles, one year ago, the European Commission, together with the industry, launched the development of a Privacy Code of Conduct for mHealth apps. This initiative will be discussed in a dedicated session of the second theme, "Trust & Standards", where representatives from different sectors will address the latest draft of the Code of Conduct and next steps.
Pēteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit Health and Well-Being at DG Connect at the European Commission, said: "I am happy that this initiative moved forward so rapidly and I hope that it can soon be presented to the Article 29 Working Party, the independent European working group on data protection. Once approved by them and applied in practice, I believe the Code of Conduct will be a great step towards increased trust in mHealth apps."
The added value of Personal Health Records
In one of the sessions connected to the "Empowerment of the People" theme, experts will discuss the added value of Personal Health Records and how their use can be integrated and implemented on all levels. For patients with health information and data in multiple places it is difficult to keep track of their medical records. With the use of Personal Health Records patients can collect, track and share information about their health. Improving the ‘information’ position of the patient is a precondition to achieve empowerment and self-management.
"The conversation about Personal Health Records comes at an important time in Europe, where it is common for patients to travel within the continent on a regular basis. How are we all expected to keep track of our records? Can we find common ground? This session will address important eHealth aspects which affect all stakeholders alike and promises to be extremely insightful," said Christina Roosen, Vice President of Public Affairs at HIMSS Europe.
Ethical aspects of eHealth: do we pay enough attention to the human aspect?
Also featuring in the programme, will be a discussion around the critical technical breakthroughs that are leading to humans to be increasingly replaced by machines, technologies and robots. Replacing human contact and how to deal with these issues when scaling up new initiatives will be the point of focus during one of the sessions connected to the theme "Social innovations & Transitions". Experts will share opinions and develop practical guidelines for practical initiatives.
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About eHealth Week
eHealth Week 2016 is the leading eHealth event in Europe. It will be organised in Amsterdam on 8-10 June 2016, following the Dutch Presidency of the European Council (1 January - 30 June, 2016). The event is organised by the European Commission, the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union and HIMSS Europe. During eHealth Week 2016, over 2,000 international experts in IT and healthcare, public institutions, professional and patient organisations will be welcomed.
Under the theme "You, at the heart of transition", eHealth Week 2016 will focus on the people who are changing the healthcare system, and the first step forward is to give patients the power. eHealth policies are changing. Until now, policies have mainly focused on institutions and IT systems: today, that focus is shifting and is now being placed on eHealth users. The people who are using eHealth are becoming increasingly involved in the discussion and being placed at the heart of eHealth policy-making.
The Netherlands is one of the most digitally mature countries in Europe and is home to one of the three HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7 hospitals in Europe as well as having eight Stage 6 hospitals: it is an ideal place for the European eHealth Community to come together.