eHealthWeek 2012 Focuses on the Continuity of Care and Patient Centric Health Services

Political leaders, hospital managers, health professionals, IT managers and anyone interested in optimal use of advanced information technology and management systems in healthcare, will meet from 7 to 9 May 2012 in the Bella Center in Copenhagen. eHealth Week 2012 will showcase exhibitions from more than 100 Danish and international IT and medical device companies, numerous seminars and workshops and a one-day conference with EU Member States Health Ministers and their top officials.

The eHealth week 2012 will focus on the continuity of care from home to hospital and back to home demonstrating how information can flow between these different settings. It will include topics like patient empowerment and chronic diseases management involving investment and business opportunities in healthcare IT.

eHealth Week 2012 brings together two main events: the eHealth High level Conference co-organised by the European Commission and the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and WoHIT (World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition) organised by HIMSS Europe (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Europe). In addition, several symposia, workshops and focus groups relevant to eHealth will take place throughout the week. The organisers want to strongly encourage innovation in health by investing in and creating a favourable environment for the development and deployment of health IT solutions for the patients, healthcare professionals and caregivers. On January 1st 2012 Denmark takes over the EU Presidency, offering an excellent platform to highlight Danish new initiatives and visions.

Demand for healthcare products and services will rise significantly in coming years because of demographic changes in the Western world and because of a surging purchasing power in developing economies - especially in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Although demographic change itself is an economic challenge for the entire health sector, it is also a tremendous opportunity for companies in the health and welfare industry. Today, the European healthcare industry is the fifth largest industry in the EU.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda says "30% of the EU's inhabitants will be over 65 years in 2050. Furthermore we see estimates point to a shortage of one million health professionals in the EU by 2020, and this is likely to reach two million if other employees in the healthcare sector are accounted for." World Bank figures also show that public expenditure on healthcare in the EU could jump from 8% of GDP in 2000 to 14% in 2030 and continue to grow beyond that date.

"This will lead to increased pressure on healthcare, at a time where European governments are facing budget austerity. The challenge is to do more with less, in which information technology is a key enabler for delivering more effective, efficient and patient-oriented health care. The Commission therefore actively supports the roll out of eHealth, among others through the Digital Agenda, the eHealth Action Plan, and the Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing."

John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health further stressed that "eHealth has the potential to deliver better healthcare, to more people in a more sustainable and cost effective manner. The challenge for policy makers and health professionals is to encourage its uptake across the EU, so that eHealth translates into real benefits for all citizens. I am confident that the new Directive on Cross Border Healthcare, the first EU law with provisions on eHealth, will give a strong impetus to upscale our efforts in this area. The European Commission is now setting up a network with the Member States to drive forward progress on voluntary guidelines for eHealth across borders, including a common set of data for patients' summaries and common authentication measures."

High hopes for eHealth Week 2012 in Copenhagen
Danish Christina Roosen, newly appointed Executive Director of HIMSS Europe, has high hopes for eHealth Week 2012. "We are currently having intensive meetings with representatives from regions, The Medical Industry, the IT industry and many other European key stakeholder groups and the interest is overwhelming. They are keen to be involved as exhibitors and as participants in seminars and workshops, as well as being part of a dialogue between European politicians and the European Commission."

"The European eHealth market is an important one, with an annual value of around 15 billion €, and an annual growth of 3%. It should not come as a surprise that many Danish and international companies have already confirmed their participation in the industry exhibition, including CSC, Agfa, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Accenture, Microsoft and many others."

eHealth Week 2012 will bring together stakeholders from across Europe's health area in the broadest sense, including politicians, hospital administrators, leaders from governments, regions and other public institutions, IT and medical device industry, doctors, nurses, patients, insurers, NGO's and international investors.

"We expect about 100 exhibitors at the industrial fair and in total we expect 4,000 participants during the three days", says Christina Roosen.

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