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E-Health in Europe

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E-health encompasses all aspects of the interface between health and the Internet, including information, services, discussion, e-commerce, integration and connectivity. The European e-health market is large, especially when considering the breadth of opportunities in pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications), wellness (functional foods, complementary health care, fitness), private and employer funded health insurance and health service provision. However, the European e-health "space" differs substantially from that of the USA, as national health insurance, social factors, consumer and provider characteristics and regulatory barriers force us to rethink the prevailing connectivity/integration/advertising health portal model. While it is difficult to predict the extent, speed and impact of liberalization, standardization, decentralization and privatization, Europe will benefit from technological "leapfrogging" with advanced technology such as mobile Internet use and artificial intelligence. The complex interaction between technology, health systems, business and the consumer represents both the challenge and the opportunity in this area. Developing a putative picture of the evolution of e-health in Europe assists us in better discerning emerging trends and facilitates strategy development. The foundation of sustainable commercial success in e-health will be the combination of strategic alliances and technological innovation with an understanding of the European health market.

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