Negotiations on the EU’s upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) are nearing an inflection point and industry groups are arguing for aligned regulations and better funding for European health and care systems, according to a new joint paper.
The European Commission is set to formally propose the next multi-year budget
by early May 2018, pending stakeholder consultations on priorities from earlier this year, and the trade associations MedTech Europe and COCIR are pinpointing elements critical to growing the field of digital health.
The funding of research, development, and innovation needs to be consistent across regional, national, and international level, the groups said, noting a focus on connected care “through standards and evidence-based practices, while enabling precision medicine and personalized treatment, data harmonization across digital platforms that ensure privacy and security, and technologies to support definitive diagnosis, biomedical modeling and treatment optimization.”
Other proposed measures include providing the conditions and funds needed to encourage competition in the EU’s digital health market, ensuring innovation and large-scale deployments via smart procurement mechanisms, and supporting patients’ self-management by investing in digital skills and health literacy.
MFF negotiations – which involve the European Council and the European Parliament – will set the limits for the overall spending for each year over the course of at least five years, with the most recent agreements covering seven years.
The EU has moved, over the past few years, to adapt to the changing digital market with the goal of supporting growth in its economy and workforce by seeking to “tear down regulatory walls between the EU member states.” A strategy proposed in 2015
has covered several policy areas ranging from cybersecurity and data protection to the creation of a single market for data storage and processing.
Potential options in support of the EU’s digital transformation – as outlined in a contribution paper from February on the institutions’ MFF meeting – for delivering on its priorities
after the current political budget agreement expires in 2020 include “doubling the amounts currently invested in the digital economy to around EUR 70 billion [US $86.6 billion] over the period 2021-2027.”
The additional funding would improve areas such as high-quality data infrastructure, connectivity and cybersecurity, the Commission said.