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EC plans mhealth green paper


Richard Handford

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The EC has announced an action plan for the healthcare IT sector with a range of proposals including publishing a mobile health green paper.

However the paper will not be available until 2014, says the Commission.

The aim of the action plan is to remove obstacles to greater use of digital technology in Europe’s health system.

The new plan, which runs from 2012-2020, needs to reflect recent changes in the health sector including how patients and consumers are increasingly monitoring their own health online or through smartphones, the commission said.

The announcement about its new action plan was in December.

In addition, the commission published a staff working paper on how current EU legislation applies to cross border telemedicine.

Currently telemedicine falls within the scope of several legal instruments, says the announcement. The paper explains the problems a healthcare professional can face in delivering telemedicine across borders.

The commission’s definition of telemedicine includes sending X-rays internationally for analysis; consultation with a patient elsewhere in the EU; and the remote monitoring of patients, also in a country separate from the health practitioner.

The paper raises a number of questions, including whether the doctor needs to be licensed in the member state of the patient they are remotely treating; how health data should be processed; and what the liability is in case of legal action.

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