The digitization of health care has long been on the European Agenda to modernize and improve healthcare and resilience across Member States; following the health impacts and the health care needs the global current pandemic has caused, OECD (Report 2020) has drawn some policy conclusions for health care provision pointing out that the Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of universal health education as a key element for the resilience of health systems, which can be issued successfully only through training and raising awareness for health professionals:
- On the one, reskilling and upskilling of the health professionals can be proven very useful to provide additional support and allows for a more flexible management of health risks and threats, and then for creating the grounds for a universal answer (at local-national level) to health services and consequently for health resilience.
- On the other, given the fact also that the digital transformation and the need for contemporary ways of services delivery have been established in the (vocational) education, skilling health professionals in an era-attached way means providing them with digital health services training: digital technology – including mHealth and eHealth is an inevitable part of the future of European Healthcare without meaning that automatically our health professionals are prepared.
Reports, research and papers have demonstrated not only the need but also the insufficient training on health digital technology or digital literacy on health with digital health services delivery The need for digital skills is widely acknowledged but there is limited reference to the health professionals as also the existing digital health professional curricula are inadequate – there is the need to strengthen the educational curricula of health professionals and use continuous professional development programs to provide them with useful digital skills training. As also intensively considered in Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development (2020), integrating digital health into the curriculum entails how to educate future and present health professionals to work in an era of digital tools and reskilling them towards digital health services provision.
Taking this into consideration, there has been this dilemma of how best to address the integration of digital health services into vocational curricula and training adapted to labor markets. Arguably, it is in the best interest for health professionals to be reskilled and be prepared for adequate digital health services provision and to respond successfully to a health landscape that may see significant disruption due to technological upheavals.