BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- eHealth Week 2011, the largest annual gathering of the European eHealth communities, today opened its gates in Budapest, Hungary, with the motto "Investing in the healthcare systems of the future". Experts from across Europe have come to Budapest to deliver a powerful message to healthcare providers, governments and patients across the European Union: eHealth is a key element in sustaining world-class healthcare; the time to implement is now!
Miklós Szócska, Hungarian Minister of State for Health said: "The Ministerial eHealth Conference 2011 highlights that smart solutions are bringing new aspects into health policy decision-making while safe and high quality healthcare can be better supported through IT applications. Information technology is essential to modernise healthcare, while innovation is crucial to develop new solutions promoting transformation towards new care models. The Hungarian EU Presidency recognizes that eHealth can contribute to a better investment in the health systems of the future and shares the view that the European Union should encourage more innovation in the provision of IT healthcare solutions. Speeding up the development and spread of eHealth systems will bring the necessary support for future sustainable health systems to promote better Europe competitiveness."
Stephen Lieber, President of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), said: "eHealth is here to help solve some of Europe's most pressing healthcare challenges, such as meeting the challenges of an aging of the population. However, it should also be seen as the key to new opportunities - a whole new market is emerging with new business and new jobs, in which Europe can truly lead the world." The European eHealth market is currently estimated at around EUR15 billion and growing at an annual rate of 2.9 percent. HIMSS is one of the co-organizers of eHealth Week, together with the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
For the first time ever, the European Commission has delegated two Commissioners to the event, underlining the increasing relevance of digitizing healthcare in Europe.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, said: "At a time when individuals and governments need to watch every euro, eHealth can help to improve the efficiency of healthcare systems, boost the economy and empower patients. We have to invest in eHealth today!"
John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, said: "I am confident that the new Directive on patients' rights in crossborder health-care will make it possible to reap the benefits of eHealth for better access to safe and quality healthcare across the EU. In the near future, EU patients will benefit from this new law."
The eHealth Ministerial Conference organized jointly by the European Commission and the Hungarian Presidency together with The World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition are the cornerstone events that form eHealth Week, which takes place annually in the country that holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The next eHealth Week will be in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2012.
HIMSS Europe reveals activities
With its numerous satellite events and symposia, eHealth Week is the think-tank for increasing the quality and efficiency of Europe's healthcare by applying information and communication technologies. Together with the European Commission, HIMSS Europe is one of the driving forces behind eHealth Week - exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimum use of healthcare information technology. The organization has increased its level of activity at this year's event, focusing on the roll-out of health IT across the "healthcare eco-system".
"Information technology should connect all stakeholders in healthcare; solutions will expand from hospitals to primary care and ultimately to patient homes. This will enable us to manage the demographic challenge with its associated chronic disease wave, staff shortage and cost increase," said Uwe Poettgen, one of the keynote speakers of the event and a participant in HIMSS Analytics Europe's Leaders in Health IT symposia.
Industry consolidates exhibition activities
In a bid to consolidate its exhibition activities around a central European platform, the industry exhibition at the World of Health IT has invited some of the world's largest companies; AGFA and HP are Diamond Sponsors of the event, while EMC, Intel and T-Mobile are Gold Sponsors. Solutions on display allow for remote diagnosis, remote monitoring or secure sharing of patient records between healthcare professionals. Ambient Assisted Living technologies focus on empowering the elderly, enabling them to enjoy more dignified and independent lives.
"EHealth will never replace the human touch but it can enable healthcare workers to dedicate more time to direct contact with patients. And patients are pro-actively using technology to learn about illnesses and even to manage their conditions. eHealth Week provides the annual platform to review the progress made with regard to eHealth development and adoption in Europe. This element will be enforced even more strongly at eHealth Week 2012 in Copenhagen. Because the time for eHealth to hit the streets is now," concluded Jeremy Bonfini, Executive Vice President for Global Services at HIMSS.
eHealth Week 2012 will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from May 7 to 9, 2012.
About the High Level eHealth Conference 2011: Visit http://www.ehealthweek.org for more information.
About World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition: Visit http://www.worldofhealthit.org for more information.
For further information please contact: HIMSS Europe Christina Roosen firstname.lastname@example.org T: +32-2-793-7633 IT communication (agency) email@example.com T: +34-93-362-10-34 European Commission Corinne Wenner firstname.lastname@example.org T: +32-2-296-4194 so2say communications (agency) email@example.com T: +49-30-2191-3610
SOURCE eHealth Week