The European Commission and the Member States should take steps to ensure that eHealth is part of the curricula of healthcare professionals, notably making use of the new possibilities provided by the updated Directive 2005/36 on regulated professions.
This is one of the key recommendations made by the eHealth Stakeholder Group, a European Commission advisory body, in its report on eSkills workforce.
According to the group, the healthcare workforce is crucial in the wider deployment of eHealth. First, they are the primary users of eHealth. Plus, they also accompany patients in using appropriately these technologies, providing reassurance. Supporting digital skills of the health workforce is all the more needed in the view of the constant changing nature of healthcare systems and healthcare delivery.
The report provides a series of practical steps to tackle the gaps in eSkills of the EU healthcare workforce; e.g.:
- It invites the Commission to coordinate the efforts at EU level, through the setting-up of a thematic network of stakeholders, which tasks would be to map common needs in eSkills.
- The Commission should also ensure the exchange of best practices in training and curricula.
- Member States should strengthen efforts on continuous professional development that should also include eSkills.
Finally, this report provides a concrete contribution to the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 on supporting digital skills.