A new EU platform will support Digital Health Literacy and Skills

Digital solutions for health can increase the well-being of millions of citizens and radically change the way health and care services are delivered to patients. Digital technology can support the continuity of care across borders and can support the transition to new care models, centred on people’s needs, while enabling a shift from hospital-centred systems to more community-based and integrated care structures. They also have the potential to enable a better use of increasing volumes of health data in research and innovation to support policymaking, personalised healthcare, better health interventions and more effective, accessible and resilient health care systems. By optimising workflows and transforming the science and practice of health-related decision-making, health professionals, patients and citizens will be empowered to steer and manage the provision of prevention and health care pro-actively.  

Digital health literacy, skills and trust among the general population, patients and healthcare workers is essential to advance health promotion, prevent disease and deliver integrated services based on people's needs. Health is a complex industrial ecosystem heavily affected by the current crisis. While the health and social care sector makes up 10% of total employment in the EU, estimates forecast an increase of more than 830,000 new jobs, which together with replacement needs means 8 million job openings in the next 10 years. Additionally, to satisfy the needs of healthcare organisations to successfully deploy new digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that improve the quality of care and increase efficiency in Member States’ health systems, the demand for basic and advanced digital skills will grow significantly by 2030. This reveals a significant skills gap in the healthcare workforce that will only be aggravated due to demographic ageing and the rise of chronic diseases. Filling this gap is crucial, to guarantee a high level of resilience and fairness of national welfare systems across the EU. An important step towards this goal is the provision of up and re-skilling opportunities for a digitally ready health workforce. 

Digital transition being one of the main priorities of the European Commission, many new initiatives and funds are dedicated to improving digital skills in Horizon Europe, Digital Europe Programme, Erasmus +, EU4Health, Recovery and Resilience Plans, as well as in the Digital Education Plan and the Pact for Skills. This platform is dedicated to work and exchanges on digital skills for the Health workforce.  

Comments

Iesniedzis Gabriela RUSEVA Tr, 14/07/2021 - 11:06

"This platform is dedicated to work and exchanges on digital skills for the Health workforce." - why only for the health workforce? Why not also for the actual users - the patients, the elderly people who are actually supposed to benefit from e-health solutions and services. How are they supposed to use these services if they are afraid of using digital devices and lack basic digital literacy skills and confidence?