On 13 October, two committees of the European Parliament (ITRE and ENVI) organised a hearing to look at the development of mobile Health in Europe and its potential for ensuring better prevention and monitoring through health and well-being apps. It also looked at some of the challenges, such as the issues of interoperability and big data/data protection.
The number of health and wellness apps more than doubled from 2013 to 2015 (there would be 165 thousand available on the leading platforms)*.
The European Commission has been active on mHealth, publishing a Green Paper, holding a public consultation, paving the way for an industry-led code of conduct on mobile health apps as well as funding research activities in the domain under Horizon 2020. Hearings are good opportunities for the European Parliament to be part of a multi-stakeholder dialogue.
On 13 October, issues concerning language barriers were raised as the patients are not communicated to in Latin. Data protection was also considered a pressing issues, as well as the need for trust among European citizens. It was finally debated whether mHealth would increase or decrease health inequalities, to which presenters (see list of speakers below) maintained that the tendency would be to support health equalities.
- Commissioner Andriukaitis – Keynote speech
- Angelos Kassianos – Tackling Europe’s key health challenges
- Mariusz Borkowski – mHealth solutions – Method for the coordinated health care
- Ain Aaviksoo – Data protection, ownership and portability. A code of conduct for mHealth apps
All presentations (PowerPoint) can be found on line:
*Source: EuroHealthNet, News from the EP, October 2016