Digital skills for health professionals. In Re-thinking european healthcare: Recommendations by the next generation. (Book Chapter)
Digital technology, including mHealth and eHealth, is an inevitable part of the future of European healthcare. But are health professionals prepared? The Digital Skills for Health Professionals Committee of the European Health Parliament surveyed over 200 health professionals about their experience with digital health solutions, and a large majority reported to have received no training, or insufficient training, in digital health technology.
To equip health professionals for the digital health future, our committee recommends that greater emphasis is placed on the needs and abilities of the end-users, the health professionals. This should be done through better incentives and improved training:
1. Widening digital literacy in healthcare depends on sufficient demand for digital healthcare. This can be achieved through reimbursement schemes that encourage the use of digital solutions in healthcare.
2. Continuous education of health professionals in the knowledge, use and application of digital health technology should be central to the European agenda for digitizing healthcare.
We recommend that the European Union and Member States take the following actions:
a. Establish mandatory tailored training programs on digital skills for health professionals from early education to professional development programs.
b. Launch a joint action on digital skills for health professionals to agree among the Commission and Member States on the key issues and determine a common approach.
c. Update clinical guidelines to include mHealth and eHealth solutions that enable healthcare professionals to deliver mHealth and eHealth solutions to their patients.
d. Make healthcare professionals co-developers of mHealth and eHealth solutions.
We consider digital literacy among health professionals paramount for the successful, effective and ethical implementation of digital solutions in healthcare.