Press Release

Minister Martin opens the 2nd EU eHealth Conference

Mr Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Health and Children today opened the 2nd EU eHealth Conference which is being held in Cork on 5/6 May 2004. The Minister welcomed Health Ministers from Member States such as Poland, Norway, Germany, Slovenia as well as senior representatives of the European Commission, other VIPs and more than 400 delegates.

The Irish Presidency of the European Union offers a special opportunity to demonstrate our commitment and determination to advancing health issues throughout Europe. The growth of the importance of health in the European political agenda is widely acknowledged. EU co-operation in health matters at political, policy making and expert levels is now an every-day occurrence and this is an evolution which Ireland supports and which we routinely work to enhance and facilitate. In the light of Irelands dominant worldwide position in the software industry, it is particularly apt that Ireland is hosting such a prestigious event.

The conference and exhibition offers the opportunity to showcase the advances in eHealth with a specific emphasis on tools and services that benefit the European citizen. The event includes the eEurope eHealth Awards 2004 the exhibition and awards ceremony provide an ideal opportunity for real life demonstrations of the very latest eHealth tools. It addresses exciting new developments in eHealth, focussing on the citizen and in particular on information, administrative, homecare and telemedicine tools and services for citizens. 32 exhibitors have been selected from countries across Europe, including 4 exhibits from Ireland.

The four Irish projects that were selected to exhibit are:

  • Ait Eile: an online interactive portal for children in hospital
  • National Healthlink project: an electronic communication system between primary and secondary care in Ireland
  • VHI Healthcare website: a website offering citizens free access to personalised information on all aspects of healthy living.
  • Caring for Carers Ireland: a project promoting the integration of information communication technologies into the daily lives of citizens in the third age and their carers.

Other projects which have been selected to exhibit focus on areas such as mental health, paediatric care, workplace health, blood donation, hospital and patient messaging and thrombosis risk management.

In his opening address this morning Minister Micheál Martin welcomed Ministers, representatives of the EU Commission and delegates where he expressed his optimism that eHealth tools will continue to be brought to the fore in improving the health and wellbeing of all our peoples. Representatives from the EU Commission, confirmed the Commissions strong support for eHealth agenda going forward in the context of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan.

Later in the morning, the Conference discussed a wide range of eHealth and related topics. These included informing patients and empowering citizens through eHealth applications as well as the development of the Electronic Patient Record.

This afternoons programme includes a number of speakers form the projects shortlisted for awards and promise to be both interesting and informative for delegates.

Minister Michael Martin will launch the Irish National Health Portal later this afternoon. The portal will provide a one-stop-shop for citizens accessing health services as well as a an access point for professionals to a network of electronic services.

Tomorrows (6th May) programme commences with a Ministerial Round Table which will be joined by the Ministers and Commissioner David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs.

The morning programme also includes the EU eHealth Awards Ceremony. When announcing the winners of the prestigious eHealth Award and Honourable Mentions, Minister Martin will be joined by Commissioner Byrne, a representative from DG InfoSoc of the European Commission and Mr Angelo Carenzi, Director of the European Training Centre for Social Affairs and Public Health who chaired the panel of judges.

In addition to the formal programme, the overall event is providing international and Irish delegates with a valuable opportunity for networking and discussions about very the latest emerging technologies and, at the same time, experience traditional Irish hospitality.