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The Dutch government seeks electronic health innovations

October 1, 2021
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin health care technology companies should consider exploring opportunities to help the Dutch health care system improve electronic health records exchanges and offer online access to health services.

As the population of the Netherlands grows, life expectancy rises and health care facilities face an increasing shortage of staff, the government is calling for a bigger investment in electronic health records and telehealth services.

The Netherlands’ population is expected to top 17.5 million in 2034. By 2040, one of every three residents is likely to have two or more chronic diseases, and nearly 20% will be living with three or more chronic illnesses.

After struggling with the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic on its health care system, the Dutch government wants to step up the use of electronic health services.

The Dutch Healthcare Authority boosted funding for electronic data technology improvements in 2021 in hopes of improving health care data exchanges among providers and offering residents access to more health care services in their homes via the internet.

Because general practitioners are the first point of contact for patients, the Dutch government is focusing on developing a secure and reliable electronic way for them to exchange medical data. This also ensures that specialized care is only provided when necessary.

Mental health care, physiotherapy and oncological aftercare could be provided at home with support from digital tools, such as portable medical devices, apps and portals, and Internet of Things platforms. There are many opportunities for developing new technology to facilitate remote consultation, diagnostics, treatment and monitoring, as well as prevention.

As much as 20% of hospital care could be offered outside of hospitals by 2030, according to a December 2020 report by ING Research. That could reduce total hospital care costs by 10%, or almost €3 billion ($3.3 billion USD) per year, for the Netherlands—and cost savings could amount to up to €50 billion euros ($54.4 billion USD) within the entire European Union.

The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has been working on an effort called the Innovation and Healthcare Renewal Program, which has three main objectives for Dutch citizens: self-sufficiency, self-control and self-care.

As a result, two projects have been formed: the Information Council and MedMij. The Information Council is aimed at setting standards and forging agreements to improve health care data exchanges. MedMij lets patients determine which health care providers should have access to their data and gives them the opportunity to add their own information.

Interviews with Dutch health care providers suggest that only 2-3% of Dutch patients receive a substantial portion of hospital care remotely or in or near their homes. That means opportunities abound for Wisconsin companies to provide technologies related to telehealth.

 

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