Factsheet: Roadmap for human-machine networks in e-Health


The need to address the high economic burden of the healthcare sector and to provide for an ageing population, as well as the trends towards early detection of diseases, healthier lifestyles and improving the overall quality of life make personalized eHealth systems a promising and challenging sector. However, policies to efficiently integrate such technology in medical care and everyday life seem inadequate to match the pace at which such devices enter the market.

In this HUMANE roadmap, we provide an overview of the ensuing challenges and envisaged actions at European level for the efficient integration of eHealth HMNs in human life and societies.

The complete roadmap whitepaper is provided here. A summary for each level of analysis is provided below.

Increased human agency
Personalized eHealth systems, devices and applications imply increased control and intervention by users and patients for the detection, treatment and management of diseases.

Roadmap actions:

  • Establishment of a permanent information structure, which provides continuous support to patients for the use of eHealth HMNs, but also informs health professionals about latest developments. This information should be coordinated at national level, but also reach the level of local communities, where services are offered.
  • Improvement of application design, with emphasis on user engagement and behavioural change.

Higher machine agency and human-machine relationship strength
Higher machine agency creates a need for security and for the protection of privacy and confidentiality of medical information, as well as for increasing trust and mitigating resistance from the patients and healthcare providers in using such products.

The protection of privacy and confidentiality mainly concerns the use of information by their intended recipients only for the intended purpose of use, and by any third parties in a way that preserves anonymity. A user of an eHealth device or application should be aware of what happens to the data that are recorded and communicated. In addition, a user should be able to authorise the parties which are using the data, and the ways in which they are used.

Design solutions should increase information towards users, so that they receive feedback on the actions performed, and are able track usage traces for the provided data. Additionally, a data management service could be offered that tracks data access attempts, as well as refuses data release without explicit consent and/or generic agreement.

Roadmap actions:

  • Application of privacy-by-design mechanisms in commercial eHealth HMNs.
  • The development of reliable services with guaranteed QoS.
  • Conduction of clinical trials, which can assert efficiency and inspire trust.

Increased size and geographical reach
The increased size and geographical reach of eHealth systems call for the efficient management of large volumes of data, high availability and QoS guarantees in service provisioning, standardization and interoperability, as well as the provision of economically sustainable eHealth services and of coherent rules for eHealth HMNs throughout the EU.

Roadmap actions:

  • Conduct pilot studies to assess eHealth HMNs at large scale prior to their official adoption in the healthcare systems of EU countries.
  • Study of business models for eHealth monitoring.
  • Review and homogenization of the different EU regulatory documents that relate to eHealth (GDPR, e-Privacy Directive, Consumer’s Rights Directive, e-Commerce Directive, Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.).
  • Standardization of frequency bands, architectures and data.

Further reading:
Whitepaper on the roadmap for human-machine networks in eHealth
Appendix: Developing the roadmap for eHealth HMNs

See Also:
FACTSHEET: Roadmap for Human-Machine Networks in Sharing Economy
FACTSHEET: Roadmap for Human-Machine Networks in Citizen Participation