Digital Health

eHealth Trendbarometer: Consumer-Enabled and Connected Health in Europe

A person looks at a graph on a smartphone. The person has a small round patch-like device attached to their arm.

HIMSS e-Health Trendbarometer reveals new technologies empowering patients and consumers are rapidly emerging, shifting expectations for how, when and where health-related services should be delivered.

Patients, citizens and consumers demand care that is most appropriate for them, which creates a significant demand for more personalized approaches to care delivery. Vendors and consulting companies across all regions have jumped on the trend of consumer-enabled and connected health, which is fundamental to a pro-active, forward-looking vision for care delivery. But also health facilities are likely to support and enable the use of this technologies much more in the near future.

Consumer-enabled and connected health technologies intend to bridge the gap between citizens/consumers and health resources, with the goal to increase personal engagement and connectivity to achieve health and wellness. It promises to improve the health of citizens/consumers and the way care and prevention is delivered via internet-based strategies and resources, the use of remote monitoring devices, telehealth and wearable technologies.

Key findings of the study include:

  • European healthcare organisations have invested in and improved their consumer enabled and connected health capabilities in recent years. However, benefits are not yet realized comprehensively. Legal and reimbursement frameworks need further adjustments to accelerate adoption.
  • Dutch healthcare organisations are high adopters of consumer-enabled and connected health technologies, and they are closely followed by the Nordics. At the other end of the spectrum, Germany lags behind, but surveyed plans suggest the country will be in a better position within the next several years.
  • Offering traditional services through online channels has gained traction overall. The adoption of tools that allow patients to manage their own health and wellness and those that support the submission of self-reported outcomes data are on the rise.
  • Key obstacles include insufficient budgets and reimbursement regulations, high development and implementation costs, lack of interoperability, resistance from clinicians and citizens and data privacy roadblocks.
  • Business expectations in the digital health industry took a modest hit in 2020 due to COVID-19, but they have risen slightly again and are almost back at pre-pandemic levels.

About the e-Health Trendbarometer

This current edition of the HIMSS e-Health Trendbarometer series provides insights into the adoption and maturity of consumer-enabled and connected health in European countries. The study focuses on the drivers of and barriers to connected health, and covers a comprehensive range of influences including regulatory, cultural, financial and technical.

A survey was conducted February through April 2021, a time when most European countries are experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 and are at the start of their vaccination programme. Respondents included 359 digital health professionals from 26 countries.

In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted with three digital health experts, who were invited to discuss the quantitative results in more detail and contextualise the findings.

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