Government encouraging use of eHealth

The government is encouraging the healthcare sector to expand telehealth (eHealth) services.

eHealth goals and measures

The government wants eHealth to become more widely available and is encouraging the healthcare sector to develop it further. The government has set the following goals:

  • Access to medical records

    At least 80% of chronically ill people should have access to their own medical records by 2019, and at least 40% of other members of the population.
  • Health monitoring

    By 2019 75% of chronically ill people and vulnerable elderly people should be able to monitor certain aspects of their own health and share the data with their health provider. This would include things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Online contact with care provider

    People receiving care and support at home should be able to communicate with their care provider 24 hours a day via a screen, if they wish.

The government is taking the following action to achieve these goals:

  • Support for innovators via online platform

    Healthcare innovators wishing to make a new digital application can go to zorgvoorinnoveren.nl (in Dutch), where they will find support to help them develop their idea swiftly and effectively into a working application. The site also has tips on getting funding.
  • Making digital data sharing easier

    The government is consulting with healthcare administrators on standards that should facilitate digital data sharing. They are also talking to suppliers of IT systems.
  • Sharing eHealth knowhow

    The government is bringing healthcare innovators and other parties together. It has established a startup network, for example, which includes healthcare providers, patients and lawyers. The network allows them to share knowledge and help startups and innovations advance to the next stage. Another project uses telehealth to help elderly people live independently for longer.
  • Raising awareness

    The government and the healthcare sector are taking steps to raise awareness of eHealth among both healthcare professionals and patients. National eHealth Week 2016 will be held in June to coincide with the Dutch EU Presidency. It aims to highlight the Netherlands’ experience of eHealth, and learn from experiences in other countries.
  • Personal digital healthcare environment

    Some healthcare providers and IT suppliers already offer patients the opportunity to draw up and manage a personal health record (PHR). But safely combining and sharing personal health information is a complex matter, and is currently possible to only a limited extent. Various parties in the healthcare sector are therefore collaborating on a programme to give people more control over their own health. In 2016 they will agree standards and basic requirements for personal digital healthcare environments. This will enable suppliers to develop safe, reliable, user-friendly products. This will allow anyone to safely compile and share their own health information online if they wish.

The government is monitoring the progress of digital developments in the healthcare sector, and assessing whether its goals will be achieved. It also commissions an annual survey of how many people are using eHealth services. For the latest results, see the eHealth Monitor 2015.