The first meeting of the European Commission’s eHealth Stakeholder Group (eHSG) of which Eurocarers is a member, took place online on 13th July 2020. Eurocarers was represented by Nadia Kamel, Project Officer at Eurocarers.
The meeting introduced the new member organisations of the group, and discussed topics for a work programme during the course of its three year mandate. In addition, the Commission presented the EU digital health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current situation with regard to the development of a European Health Data Space and the Digital Transformation of Health and Care.
The mandate of the renewed eHSG, which has expanded from previously 30 to now 40 members, will be running for 3 years until 2022. The eHSG has a consultative and independent role, and its main strength is to be able to provide feedback to the European Commsision by capturing the many different perspectives represented in the group.
The names of the new member organisations of the renewed eHealth Stakeholder Group were published in February 2020, following a call for expressions of interest.
The first meeting was originally planned for March but was postponed due to COVID-19. Members are all umbrella organisations/associations with a European outreach, representing the following sectors/groups: the Health Tech industry, patients, healthcare professionals and the research community. The names of selected organisations are published in the Register of Commission Expert Groups.
The eHSG is collaboratively chaired both by DG Sante (Directorate-General Health and Food Safety) and DG Connect (Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology) and DG RTD (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation) of the European Commission.
The eHealth Stakeholder Group will provide advice and expertise to the Commission, particularly on topics set out in the Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market, that was adopted in April 2018. Key priority areas in the field of eHealth and on which the eHSG is expected to advise on are:
- Health Data, including taking forward the European Electronic Health record exchange format and ensuring better interoperability
- Digital health services
- Health data protection and privacy issues
- Cybersecurity for health and care data
- Digital tools for citizen empowerment and person centred care
- Artificial intelligence and health
- Other cross cutting aspects linked to the digital transformation of health and care, such as financing and investment proposals and enabling technologies
The eHSG group is expected to meet in the form of two Plenary sessions in a year, but there is also a possibility to create subgroups and invite experts and produce joint reports.
The European Commission was keen to collect the views of all members as to their priorities in the field of eHealth and how they could contribute to its work. Eurocarers submitted its response, available here. In terms of next steps, the European Commission will be analysing the received responses after the summer and come back to the group with proposals.