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e Health: The Healthy Approach to Technology

Important! Information available on the Unit e Health pages is related to activities undertaken during EU's Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002). Follow this link to access the Sixth Framework Programme site .

The fact that Europeans enjoy better health now than in recorded history, due largely to advances in information and communications technology, is a clear demonstration of the importance of R&D in society.

The Health Unit of the Systems and Services for the Citizen Directorate coordinates research and development projects funded by the European Commission to help healthcare providers and administrations deliver the best possible e-Health package to a broadening cross-section of Europe's citizens.

Funded projects sharing common themes in this unit are organised into co-operative clusters. These 'thematic clusters' serve as value-adding networks to support the projects and the various participants involved, be they researchers, proposers, universities, government agencies, industry or general-interest groups.


People doing research and development work involving IT and health, or interested in applying the results of such research, are encouraged to continue browsing the pages on this site.

The objectives of the unit are outlined in the Council Decision of 25 January 1999: " Decision adopting the User-friendly Information Society (IST) Programme 1998-2002 " which states:

"Work will cover new generation computerised clinical systems, advanced telemedicine services and health network applications to support health professionals, continuity of care and health-service management, and intelligent systems allowing citizens to assume greater participation and responsibility for their own health."

Other objectives of the Health Unit are:

  • To support the development of interactive and ubiquitous IST services for citizens;
  • To ensure that Europe's citizens stay healthy no matter where they are - at home, work, school, abroad, etc. - through the promotion and support of services and health-related industries;
  • To support development of safe, cheap, and efficient follow-up & treatment for patients, including world-wide telemedicine alternatives and the chance for multiple consultations;
  • To optimise human, financi & & infrastructure resources to provide better quality care services, greater integration, and user-friendly mobile technology;
  • To promote best practices in relation to industrial affairs, information ethics, innovation rollout, standards, etc.; and
  • To facilitate e-Health activities in line with the broader eEurope drive .


The RTD priority research activities in the Health area are found in the Council Decision , and can be summarised as follows:

  • Professional healthcare: systems enhancing the ability of healthcare professionals to prevent, diagnose, care and rehabilitate patients (e.g. intelligent systems for non-invasive diagnosis and therapy, intelligent medical assistants, and advanced medical imaging);
  • Advanced telemedicine applications, such as virtual healthcare facilities offering single-point-of-entry services;
  • High-speed secure networks and applications for linking emergency services, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, primary care and social centres with the home;
  • Health service workflow management and re-engineering;
  • New generation electronic health records and objects recognition;
  • Personal health systems; affordable and user-friendly systems for personal health monitoring and fixed or portable prevention systems, including advanced and affordable sensors, transducers and micro-systems;
  • Personal medical advisors to supervise prevention and treatment programmes;
  • Telesystems and applications for supporting care in all contexts;
  • User-friendly and certified information systems for supporting health education and health awareness for citizens; and Complementary take-up actions including validation assessments, first-user actions and other best-practice initiatives.