WHO/Europe joins eHealth Week 2017

For the first time, WHO/Europe is joining the team creating the programme for eHealth week, which will be held in Malta on 10–12 May 2017. The Maltese Ministry for Health is organizing the event as part of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, together with the European Commission and HIMSS–CHIME International, a partnership of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the College of Health Information Management Executives. The theme for 2017 – “Data for health: the key to personalized sustainable care” – will highlight the impact that data has on patients’ health.

eHealth Week gathers stakeholders from across the globe to address the opportunities and challenges of using electronic means to deliver information, resources and services related to health. The conference and exhibition provide a platform for high-level decision-makers in fields such as public health, health care and information technology to share valuable knowledge and exchange solutions.

Realizing technology’s full potential for health

Dr Claudia Stein, Director of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation, said: “We at WHO/Europe are delighted to be joining the eHealth Week team for 2017 in Malta. Member States in the WHO European Region now view eHealth as a strategic tool for policy makers to improve national health information systems under the umbrella of the European Health Information Initiative. This initiative supports countries to achieve the goals of their national Health 2020 policies. We are especially pleased to have the opportunity to bring the public health and eHealth domains closer together and to build partnerships, exchange knowledge and stimulate innovation in Europe so that together we can realize the full potential that technology has to offer health.”

eHealth Week agenda

Topics on the agenda for eHealth Week include moving from policy to practice and addressing the cross-border exchange of personal health data – considered one of the greatest challenges facing health and care professionals. The educational component of the conference will be divided into 3 different tracks, and eHealth Week will feature an exhibition floor on which the sector’s industrial leaders will present their latest innovations, products and solutions.

“Malta has a long-standing and fruitful relationship with WHO/Europe on matters regarding health policy. It is therefore very positive that WHO/Europe is building on this relationship and working closely with the Maltese Presidency and the European Commission in its greatest-ever contribution to the content of eHealth Week,” said Dr Hugo Agius Muscat, Presidency Coordinator for eHealth Week 2017.

“There is much commonality between the eHealth strategies of the Commission and WHO/Europe, and eHealth Week delegates will benefit from a broad view of subjects of common interest such as the role of technology in health promotion and prevention of noncommunicable diseases, the interoperability of health records across different care scenarios, the secondary use of health data for public health purposes, and support for [mobile health (mHealth)],” he added.

mHealth expertise

Mr Miguel González-Sancho, Head of the Unit for eHealth, Ageing and Wellbeing in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, welcomed the participation of WHO/Europe in eHealth Week 2017. "WHO has global expertise in the area of eHealth, and in particular on mHealth – an area of increasing importance and interest in Europe. I am happy that WHO is using the opportunity to share its knowledge during eHealth Week. This will also be an opportunity to identify areas for closer cooperation with the European Union."

Christina Roosen, Vice President of Public Affairs at HIMSS Europe, said: “It is an absolute privilege for HIMSS-CHIME International to have the opportunity to work alongside the prestigious WHO and to have them bring their knowledge and expertise to eHealth Week. Their participation in the 2017 edition of the event will not only be addressing current eHealth issues for a European audience, but also a much wider global audience.”

“The topics which will be openly discussed at eHealth Week really concern all of us and we look forward to having so many influential organizations in one place to increase the standards of universal health care and share knowledge and experiences among countries to accelerate eHealth implementation worldwide.”