The Assembly of European Regions (AER), in cooperation with the County Council of Norrbotten (S), organised today an international conference entitled 'E-health: around the clock care for everyone, everywhere'.
Bringing together over 100 politicians, officers and Information Technologies (IT) experts from Swedish, Dutch, Romanian, French, Polish, Swiss, Italian, Austrian, Slovak and Albanian regions, the conference provided an opportunity to understand the potential of e-health for improving the quality and financial sustainability of health care services.
'E-health allows regions to overcome distance barriers when organising and delivering health services, and is therefore an important tool both for rural and urban areas. Developing such innovative technologies also contributes to a region's overall economic development, by attracting companies specialised in this field and creating new employment opportunities,' stated Agneta Granström, County Councillor of Norrbotten (S).
'E-health is not the miracle solution to the problems health care systems are confronted with today, nor does it aim to replace the traditional doctor-patient contact. But e-health must be part of the Regions' strategy for developing innovative and sustainable health care services,' added Stig-Erik Westmark, President of the AER Committee on 'Social Cohesion, Social Affairs and Public Health' and County Councillor of Västmanland (S).
The AER will intensify its work in this area, which has a significant development potential for Europe and its regions. 'We have to start by strengthening the cooperation between hospitals and between health care providers all over Europe. We don't need a single system, the same for everyone; we need different interoperable systems. Both universities and industry should fully appreciate the enormous potential e-health offers and together with the regions they should commit themselves to the development of e-health tools,' concluded Agneta Granström.
For further information, see the AER Thematic Dossier on E-Health/Spring 2006: www.a-e-r.org/publications.html
The Assembly of European Regions/AER is the political organisation of Regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is: to defend the Regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. AER brings together 255 Regions from 30 European Countries and 13 interregional organisations. (www.a-e-r.org)
Ourania Georgoutsakou, Policy Coordinator, Committee 'Social Cohesion, Social Services and Public Health', email@example.com or Claudia Meschede, Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel: +33 3 88 22 74 33/35