However, there is a pronounced variation in the level of progress each country has made. No OECD member has full control over its electronic health infrastructure, though several European countries have policy models that are ready to be implemented, including Denmark, Finland, Sweden and UK.
The OECD report, New Health Technologies: Managing Access, Value and Sustainability - discusses current challenges of IT implementation for health policy makers and the pathways to incorporating emerging innovative technologies in European healthcare systems.
Emerging technologies in stem cell and gene therapies, 3D printing for organ transplants and nanotechnology for targeted drug delivery, all promise to deliver effective new treatments. However, their use in clinical practice challenges the ability of health professionals to manage new data and adjust their approach to treatment.
At the same time, the complexity of these new forms of treatment also sets a higher regulatory bar for policy makers, who now have to balance patient safety, data protection and market entry regulation against cost-effectiveness and access to cutting-edge therapeutic methods.
From the report:
Adoption of technology is a major driver of increased health expenditure. Policy makers must reconcile access to innovative treatments with affordability, while maintaining incentives for innovation. Therapies tailored precisely to an individual’s biology, digital innovations and revolutionary technologies such as 3D bioprinting all present opportunities, but also a complex set of technical, ethical and financial challenges.
Use of personal health data creates massive opportunities for health system improvement, research and disease surveillance, but requires the right governance frameworks to realise these benefits while managing risks.