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European Commission Seeks Public Comment on Boosting Health Care Via Mobile Devices

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Joe Kirwin

April 10 -- To help citizens use smartphones, tablets and digital wireless devices to better monitor their health, improve services and reduce costs, the European Commission April 10 launched a public consultation to come up with a plan for industry and government in the mHealth field.

The commission, noting that there are already 100,000 applications related to what it calls mHealth, said the public consultation will help address issues such as safety, data privacy, lack of interoperability among available solutions and the lack of stakeholder knowledge of the legal requirements for lifestyle and well-being applications. These include data protection rules and whether the applications are medical devices that need regulatory and standardization approval.

“mHealth has a great potential to empower citizens to manage their own health and stay healthy longer, to trigger quality of care and comfort for patients and to assist health professionals in their work,” said European Health Commissioner Tonio Borg. “As such exploring mHealth solutions can contribute to modern, efficient and sustainable health systems.”

Some of the questions the commission is posing to draw feedback are:

• what safety and performance requirements should apply to lifestyle and well-being apps;

• what security safeguards can ensure health data is safe in an mHealth context; and

• what are the best ways to promote mHealth entrepreneurship in the European Union.

 

The commission's public consultation will be open to feedback from consumer and patient organizations, health professionals, public authorities, software application developers, telecom service providers, mobile device manufacturers, individuals and all other interested parties.

The consultation is open until July 3, and the commission said it will publish the results later in 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Kirwin in Brussels at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lee Barnes at lbarnes@bna.com


For more information and to contribute to the EC public consultation, click on https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/node/69592.

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