eHealth Week 2016: Empowering People and Patients

The Dutch Ministry of Health and the European Commission co-organised the eHealth week from 8 to 10 June 2016 in Amsterdam (NL).  Laurène Souchet, EPF Policy Advisor, represented EPF as a keynote speaker in the plenary session.


Sessions of this year’s conference touched upon key themes such as end-user involvement, eHealth equity, health literacy and shared decision making between patients and healthcare professionals. The conference also gave the opportunity to the WHO to present its new report on eHealth implementation in the WHO Europe regions.

EPF participated in the partner session organised by ECHAlliance and Readi for Health. In her speech on patient power in the digital age, Laurène highlighted the numerous expectations patients have on eHealth. She stressed patient empowerment is much broader than a shift of responsibilities enabled by eHealth, unlike what is generally assumed. Pointing out that too often eHealth is technology driven, she challenged the lack of patients’ involvement in the development of services and apps, resulting often in a poor match with patients’ needs. EPF calls for an EU patient empowerment strategy, to support patients in gaining the skills and self-confidence to use eHealth services. Such a meaningful patient involvement from the idea stage through to evaluation is essential to ensure eHealth services are more patient centred.

Overall the eHealth week demonstrated the need to involve patients and take their needs into account in the development of eHealth services in order to contribute to patient empowerment and to foster trust and acceptance of eHealth. This is an important message, in a context where the joint action on eHealth, launched in 2015 failed to involve patients and healthcare professionals’ organisations as real partners.

Links to presentation of speakers in the main programme are available at 

EPF is currently working on a position paper providing the patients’ perspective on eHealth to be published at the end of 2016 after consulting our members.


Contact person: Laurène Souchet, Policy Advisor.