Coverage from World of Health IT 2010, Barcelona

The European Health Telematics Association has called for more regional and local level approaches to eHealth across Europe.

Speaking to E-Health Europe at the World of Health IT conference and exhibition in Barcelona, a spokesperson for the non profit organisation, said that eHealth needs to be done from the bottom-up.

The spokesperson said: “We need to look at the level that we can start doing real things with eHealth and that is at regional level.

"It isn’t at member state because it’s too big. It can only be at regional or below because otherwise there are too many people and it’s too complex.”

The organisation’s comments come ahead of its board meeting and coincided with the signing of a declaration by European eHealth ministers.

The declaration recognises the strategic value of eHealth in Europe and commits the EU to developing greater collaboration between states.

EHTEL said: “The declaration has tremendous value because it says it is now politically correct to talk about these problems. Europe has said ‘yes eHealth is important.’

"There isn’t any question about that anymore. Now the member states have the opportunity to go down to a more practical level. The climate is right to get people thinking about it.”

But the organisation said that there are too many people “on the ground” that have no idea how to progress with technology.

“They don’t know who has done what or what other stakeholders are doing and the European Commission cannot help with that; they have never managed to get down to that level.”

EHTEL is now working to see how it can push forward the eHealth movement by commencing the “next decade of EHTEL activity” at WoHIT this week.

As part of this activity, the organisation is trying to define a set of requirements for each of its stakeholder groups.

The spokesperson added: “Having decided that the key thing is to bring the stakeholders together, the first thing we have decided is that we don’t know enough about the stakeholders.

"So, we’ve started to go through a process of identifying each stakeholder, what they want and then going back to them a validating that. We’ll end up set of requirements across nine different stakeholders and the next step will be to look for patterns where we can help."