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ESC Digital Health

What is Digital Health?

Digital Health is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to treat patients, conduct research, educate healthcare professionals, track diseases and monitor public health.

“Digital Health is disrupting the usual way patients and health care professionals interact,” says Prof. Martin Cowie, FESC.  “It could potentially transform healthcare so that care is delivered more remotely and patients can access advice from wherever they are, rather than having to physically attend a hospital or office facility.”

Different domains of eHealth are outlined in the ESC Position Paper on DIgital Health published in the European Heart Journal.

Other articles of interest in the European Heart Journal's Cardiopulse.

Why is Digital Health relevant?

Increasing demands on healthcare systems call for a change in the organisation and management of health services.

  • Changes in national health: (i.e. digitisation, integrated care, growing number of new medical technologies 
  • Paradigm shift from doctor-centred to patient-centred healthcare
  • Shortages and uneven distribution of health professionals
  • Inequalities and inequities in access to healthcare
  • Ageing society
  • Increased prevalence of chronic diseases
  • Demand for more patient engagement
  • Financial pressure on health systems
  • The use of digital applications and solutions are increasingly present in our daily lives, offering opportunities to tackle some of the challenges our society faces.

Extract from European Commission flyer:  eHealth: connection health systems in Europe

High expectations

Healthcare professionals, patients, policymakers, payers, and the public expect digital health innovation to:

  • Support modern healthcare delivery
  • Facilitate more personalized patient care at the appropriate time and place
  • Improve the quality and experience of health care
  • Support the sustainability and efficiency of healthcare delivery

The area is expanding rapidly and is now the third largest industry in the European health sector, after pharmaceuticals and medical devices. So where do the experts stand on Digital Health today and what are the opportunities and the hurdles that lie ahead?