The European Commission has criticised the European health sector for lagging behind when it comes to technology.
The Commission's Lead Market Initiative report said that a gap had been created because investment had been ploughed into other areas and not into e-health.
"Healthcare has fallen progressively behind other service sectors over the past 25 years in terms of relative levels of ICT investment," the report said.
"But ICT investment has been a main driver of productivity gain in other sectors, so the societal interest of this lead market area becomes obvious."
The study suggested that the disparate IT systems operated by health organisations need to be linked up to help cut costs.
The Commission called for the "standardisation of various exchange formats, certifications of systems and large-scale demonstration projects".
"European citizens would greatly benefit from cost reductions, coupled with better efficiency of the healthcare systems through the wider development of e-health," the report said.
The study also claimed that improvements to health technology would see
systems used as "tools" for health authorities and "personalised health systems
" for patients.
Health costs in the EU currently run at nine per cent of gross domestic product, but the report expects this to rise to 16 per cent by 2020 thanks to ageing populations.
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