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 Friday, May 02, 2008

According to a press release of the European Commission, published on 25 April, a pan-European survey on electronic services in healthcare (eHealth) shows that 87% of European doctors (General Practitioners) use a computer, 48% with a broadband connection. The survey shows that there are considerable differences between the countries, with broadband penetration ranging from 93% in Finland to 5% in Romania. An increasing number of doctors in Europe store and send patients' data such as lab reports electronically.

In using such eHealth applications, doctors and medical services have already improved healthcare in Europe through, for instance, more efficient administration and shorter waiting times for patients. According to the report, a majority of European doctors agree that information and communication technologies (ICTs) improve the quality of healthcare services that they provide.

Doctors not using ICT mention a lack of training and technical support as major barriers. In order to increase the use of eHealth, they ask for more ICT in medical education, more training and better electronic networking among healthcare practitioners that are willing to share clinical information. The report also highlights where doctors could make better use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to offer services such as telemonitoring, electronic prescriptions and cross border medical services.

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