According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Netherlands is one of the frontrunners in the digitalisation of healthcare. The Dutch government actively stimulates and supports the development and adoption of health technology and digitalisation through task forces and subsidized innovation programmes, knowledge platforms and events targeting both innovators and health providers. The academic and research ecosystem is vibrant with multiple high-ranked university medical centres that carry out research in the field of digitalisation of healthcare. Health providers, which are not-for-profit private entities that operate in a ‘managed competition’ health system, tend to be entrepreneurial and innovation-minded, resulting in many providers that connect with academia, industry and ICT developers (companies) to work towards the facility and/or condition-specific eHealth solutions to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport has recognised the importance of the role of digital health (eHealth) in addressing the pressing issues facing the Dutch healthcare system, being an ageing population, rising healthcare costs, and a shortage of competent medical staff. Current overarching themes that the ministry focuses on are the transition from traditional hospital-based care to home-care, increasing patient involvement in the care process, and facilitating the safe exchange of patient information between providers, and between provider and patient. Table 3 highlights the main ambitions and interventions related to digitalisation and eHealth
Priorities for eHealth of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport
HIMSS Analytics Annual European eHealth Survey 2018.
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