Policy Areas

A focus on eHealth at Ministerial conference in Tromsø

The use of ICT in health services was assessed during the Ministerial eHealth Conference on 23-24 May. Markos Kyprianou, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, attended the conference held by Norway in collaboration with the Commission and the Luxembourg Presidency in Tromsø.

25/05/2005 :: Around 500 people attended the conference from 30 countries, including policy ministers, policy makers, health officials, NGOs as well as other industry representatives. 

The participants assessed the progress from last year’s conference and reviewed the launch of next year’s eHealth Action Plan activities, which had been discussed at a pre-meeting at Spitsbergen prior to the conference.A need to focus on the challenges facing eHealth implementation was established at the conference, such as interoperability, a lack of long-term planning, the availability of funds, and organisational issues.

Implementing eHealth in the new Member States and candidate countries was also highlighted as a priority in order to reorganize the structure of health care services and mobility across Europe.

The support for a European information space was evident in the new i2010: European Information Society initiative, where a stable and competitive environment for electronic communications and digital services is a key component.

During his opening speech Markos Kyrprianou, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, underlined the importance of eHealth both in relation to the safety of patients and for access and quality to health services. He was also given a tour of the Norwegian centre for telemedicine in Tromsø during his visit.

In his welcoming message to the participating Ministers and high-level representatives, the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Ansgar Gabrielsen, referred to the third Ministerial conference on eHealth as an “excellent opportunity to share eHealth experiences on both national and international levels and to set the focus for each and everyone in the years to come”.

The Minister of Health and Social Security from Luxembourg, Mars Di Batolomeo, stressed the value of common European access and quality to health services during his opening speech.

Each participating country demonstrated examples of progressive eHealth practices and pioneering developments in the field at an exhibition held in connection to the conference.

Central discussion themes were the development of access of information, interoperability, confidentiality and mobility in the European health sector, continued monitoring of progress that influences health issues, a focus on the role of media to deliver information on health to the public, and steps forward towards increasing the availability and quality of health services.

The conference in Tromsø was built on the priorities and experiences from the previous eHealth conferences in Brussels and Cork in 2003 and 2004.

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Markos Kyprianou, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, stressed eHealth as important for the safety of patients at his opening speech in Tromsø. Photo: