PPUE 2021 | Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Portugal is taking over the Presidency at a particularly difficult moment, when the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge for the EU and its Member States, requiring decisive and wide-ranging action. We have the vision, the programme and the financial instruments needed to set out together along a path of hope, confidence and credibility. Our rallying cry will therefore be: Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’. 

We will contribute to the digital transformation of the health sector, by means of telehealth and telemedicine, with a view to improving the quality of health care and reducing inequality in access to health. We will promote the interoperability of electronic health records, with a view to boosting re-use of clinical information. The Presidency will organise a high-level conference on digital health (eHealthSummit.pt) to be held in Lisbon (and live streaming) in June. 

Building a fair and social Europe – Health

Promoting Digital Health 

The Portuguese Presidency aims to promote greater cooperation between the Member States in the field of health in order to support the capacity of health services to respond to threats to public health. To this end, e-health is hereby considered the main axis for increasing the quality of health care and reducing inequalities in access to it by EU citizens. 

In this regard, the Presidency intends to promote telehealth as a key strategic area to improve health in general, to facilitate access to healthcare for European citizens, to simplify the work of health professionals and to increase the efficiency of health organizations. 

Digital Health Priorities

  • Increase the digital skills of citizens and health professionals
  • Improvement of health data infrastructures
  • Revisit the legal and regulatory framework to allow health data to be made available for multiple uses
  • Build a data sharing ecosystem to ensure long-term sustainability
  • Address existing barriers on the deployment of cross-border telehealth services

Main Initiatives 

  • Proof-of-Concept on cross-border telehealth services without barriers 
  • Policy Statement on the EU digital transformation and the removal of existing barriers to cross-border telehealth 

For more information regarding the Presidency’ digital health initiative.

Workshops on Cross-border Telehealth Services in the EU 

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for digital transformation in the health sector, with particular emphasis on telehealth tools, as an important mean to optimize hospital resources, while ensuring patients’ safety and rights to healthcare access

Cross-border telehealth services can bring several benefits to European citizens. Nonetheless, several challenges at the national and cross-border level still need to be addressed. Therefore, it is important to identify the barriers and enablers to cross-border telehealth, as well as ongoing initiatives, and existing infrastructures to evaluate the possibility of a cross-border telehealth service in the EU.

Cross-Border telehealth Services in the EU: A Dream or a Reality

19 March 2021

See recording

A Step Forward to Remove the Existing Barriers to Cross-border Telehealth in the EU

14 May 2021

Workshop currently under preparation. Soon, more details will be available.