The European Commission has long been convinced of the benefits of eHealth. While there are some great research and important pilot projects in place today, the fact remains that technology is not yet empowering most Europeans to manage their health. With increasing health costs and a decreasing number of care workers, we have to maximise the use of information and communications technologies – such as through eHealth – to improve people's healthcare while coping with shrinking health budgets.
In spite of the fears and frustrations that many have, simple technologies exist to help us be much more involved in our own care. For example, we have the chance to engage in well-being exercises at the click of a mouse or to avoid time-consuming visits to the doctor through telemonitoring and/or webcam check-ups. While these can be the simplest of tasks, such small changes often make the most difference to a busy life.
In the UK, for example, health officials believe ICT enabled self-care could potentially reduce GP visits by 40% and hospital admissions by 50%. Not only that, the length of hospital stays and days off work could also be reduced by 50%. We would have a health and care system based on well-being, not just fighting diseases.