The European Commission has published an update on its Lead Market Initiative (LMI) for e-health. The report indicates that it is too early to notice any market growth as a result of the LMI activities.
E-Health was chosen to be one of the six markets of the LMI due to its market potential in terms of growing demand and market growth opportunities, changing demographics, disease patterns and healthcare capabilities. It is believed that e-health can help to deliver better care for less money within citizen-centred health delivery systems. It also has strong potential for encouraging innovation and leveraging other market segments such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The LMI strategy was aimed at accelerating the growth of the e-health market in Europe by promoting interoperability and removing legal and regulatory barriers. Barriers delaying successful market growth include market fragmentation, lack of legal certainty, lack of financial support and procurement issues. These four main obstacles are addressed by 20 measurable actions; the report assesses their progress so far.
Projects include the development and launch of epSOS3 (Smart Open Services for European Patients) pilot and the launch of the Calliope network, which promotes interoperability in e-health. Other initiatives focus on e-health benchmarking and procurement issues.
The report concludes: “Most of the foreseen activities have been initiated and deadlines have been respected, with no particular need to change or adapt the action plan” and adds: “It is still too early to notice any market growth as a result of the LMI activities.” The Commission’s efforts to adopt a market-focussed approach to the development of e-health have, however been welcomed by industry and user stakeholder groups and by the Member State Contact Group (i2010 sub-group in e-health) and a more favourable political environment has been created.
It is hoped that the remaining two years of the LMI action plan will significantly contribute to market growth and increased employment in the field, despite the current economic climate.