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Digitization of the Dutch health care system advances

November 1, 2021
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The market for digital health services will develop very dynamically in the coming years, with opportunities for Wisconsin exporters.

The Netherlands is poised for growth in the health care sector—primarily in terms of converting to electronic health technologies. In 2020, the country’s medical technology imports amounted to €16.7 billion ($18.4 billion USD), and that is likely to increase substantially in 2022 with a monetary push from the Dutch government.

The European eHealth Survey, conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, has ranked the Netherlands among the top European countries for digital health innovation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted capacity limits and potential for improvement. Because of the pandemic, the government allocated an additional €77 million ($85 million USD) to digital remote care in 2020.

The Netherlands has very good prerequisites for the development of digital health care solutions. There is a strong information and communications technology sector, which accounted for around 5.2% of the country’s economic output in 2020. Artificial intelligence (AI) research is very well established, and the network is constantly evolving. At the end of 2019, the government’s strategic AI action plan identified a focus of future growth in health data analytics and regenerative medicine.

In addition, the market for medications and health-related products for older residents is expected to grow significantly, particularly for care outside of hospitals and health care facilities. The government’s health policy aims to provide more care for elderly and chronically ill people at home, on an outpatient basis, for as long as possible. Solutions for digitizing patient and hospital information are particularly in demand.

To keep pace with the digital development of the health care system, the Netherlands still relies to a large extent on imports. As a major trading partner in the medical technology sector, the U.S. can be a strong source of digital health care solutions in the coming years.

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