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Belgium: Major public investment in pilot projects for mHealth developments

  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Health and life sciences

08-12-2016

In July 2016, the Belgian Federal Minister of Health issued a call for the submission of mHealth pilot projects (“mHealth Pilot Projects”) with a supporting budget of 3.25 million euros made available for the purpose. The call fits within ‘Action Point 19 - Mobile Health’ of the national eHealth plan that has been put in place in Belgium in order to strengthen and promote eHealth and mHealth by 2019. The key objective of Action Point 19 is to create a framework for integrating mHealth applications into the Belgian health system by taking into account different qualitative, legal, organisational and financial aspects. Five ‘use cases’ were identified as taking priority. These were:

  • diabetes;
  • cardiovascular care;
  • acute stroke care;
  • care for patients with chronic pain; and
  • mental health.

The aim of the mHealth Pilot Projects is to gain the expertise needed to create a legal framework for such applications.

Prior to the launch of the mHealth Pilot Projects, a baseline inventory of mHealth applications was generated and a market survey was sent to several mHealth app suppliers for completion. The survey focused on questions relate to the functioning, security, privacy, semantic interoperability, evidence based character, usability and functionality of their apps. The Minister of Health stressed that it was important that a mHealth app met the following criteria:

  • provided sufficient guarantees in relation to privacy and security;
  • showed interoperability between different apps and other eHealth services (e.g. an app registering the heart beat and blood pressure of a patient must be able to exchange this data with the electronic file of the patient kept by his/her personal healthcare professional (doctor));
  • had obtained a CE-label;
  • provided scientifically based evidence to demonstrate the technology underlying the functionality, i.e. how the app derived from a patient’s blood values that they were diabetic.

It is the aim for the first mHealth Pilot Projects to be launched by the end of this year.

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