Emerging digital health technologies are considered to have the potential to transform healthcare and make it more accessible for everyone. However, while various stakeholders are processing more and more health and genetic data towards this promise, the existing digital divide within Europe might potentially prevent this transformation from achieving its full potential. If left unaddressed, existing inequalities in accessing both healthcare and digital services in Europe might lead this digital transformation to exacerbate the existing disadvantages that vulnerable populations have in accessing healthcare services since they will be unable to benefit from these developments due to, among others, lack of representative data, difficulties in accessing relevant services or technologies, underdeveloped digital literacy skills. This panel will explore the potentials and pitfalls of the existing and upcoming European Union legislation to address these challenges and their implications in practice.
• What are the main reasons for existing inequalities in accessing healthcare in Europe?
• How can the ongoing digital transformation in healthcare exacerbate the disadvantages of vulnerable groups in accessing these services?
• How should the existing digital divide be addressed to achieve equal and inclusive healthcare in Europe through digital transformation?
• Whether and to what extent can we address and tackle this digital divide through legislation?