The European Commission has launched a consultation to help prepare a new EU Information Society strategy, to follow on from the current strategy.

The initial Information Society strategy, known as the i2010 initiative, was first launched in 2005 and is set to expire at the end of 2009.

The i2010 strategy set the aim of creating a single European information space, designed to strengthen a competitive internal market, increase investment and innovation in ICT research and better public services through the use of ICT.

E-Health has been identified as one of the key areas of focus in supporting better public services, and over the past four years, the EU has published a number of e-health studies and reports to support the objective as well as funding research in the area.

However, the European Commission says that Europe collectively needs to “raise its game” with a new digital agenda “to meet the emerging challenges, to create a world beating infrastructure and unlock the potential of the internet as a driver of growth.”

The introduction to the new consultation states: “EU ICT strategy over the last four years needs to be put in a global perspective. Today it is becoming apparent that even in areas where it has global leadership, Europe is at risk of losing its competitive edge when it comes to new, innovative developments.”

The new consultation continues to consider e-health as vital part of Europe’s Information Society’s strategy.

As well as asking general questions regarding the focus of the new strategy, the consultation also asks specific questions relating to e-health such as, “what would be the most useful action to overcome privacy and security concerns in the field of e-health” and “what ICT-enabled medical service would you be most willing to use?”

The consultation period allows any person or organisation to contribute in any of the official EU languages and will close on the 9th October 2009. Contributions will be analysed and a summary of the outcome will be published on the i2010 website towards the end of the year.