Digital Health

HIMSS Annual European Digital Health Survey

Reading through digital health survey

As part of the HIMSS Trendbarometer series, the HIMSS Annual European Digital Health Survey for 2021 provides information on current priorities, challenges and trends for the digital health industry in Europe.

In the past year, the industry faced extraordinary disruption. From the moment it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation with a particular emphasis on telehealth as healthcare professionals, institutions, authorities and health technology market suppliers responded to the crisis while maintaining services under extreme pressure.

The pandemic naturally framed many of the questions asked in this survey. As the responses clearly indicate, the industry has experienced a period of rapid transformation, the extent of which has varied, depending on national and regional healthcare infrastructures. There will be a strong focus on what happens in the post-pandemic future, the degree of consolidation that might take place, and the possibility that not all changes will be sustained.

This study also enabled a comparison to be made with key trends and challenges immediately before the pandemic, as captured in the previous annual survey, and the current landscape, where the industry is facing the demands of a second wave of the virus. More than 400 healthcare professionals in Europe took part in an online survey, drawn from health facilities (53%), technology vendors (18%), consultancies (11%) and health authorities (6%), and other sources such as the academic sector, media, insurance companies and research organisations (11%). As stakeholders of healthcare systems, they included doctors, nurses, IT leaders, managers, policy makers, consultants, researchers and experts from health IT companies. The survey was conducted between September and November 2020.

The five key findings of the survey include:

  1. The foundation for digital health was in place prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic also exposed significant connectivity and integration gaps in many countries.
  2. Digital health will become more proactive after the pandemic.
  3. In many ways, the pandemic has had a positive impact on digital health transformation.
  4. Business expectations in the digital health industry have taken only a modest hit during the pandemic so far.
  5. The Nordic countries—particularly Estonia—continue to be seen as the leading role models in digital health.

Each year, the digital health survey has examined varying and recurring topics of the industry, and collected insights about the priorities and expectations of digital health professionals for the year ahead and beyond. This year for the first time, the report includes qualitative insights from five digital health experts who agreed to discuss priorities and challenges to be addressed throughout the year ahead, and to help contextualize the findings from the quantitative study.

Download the Digital Health Survey