Vision and Underlying Principles

This eGoverment Strategy is underpinned by the Government’s commitment to be open, flexible and collaborative with our citizens and businesses, using digitisation and technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness and constantly improve public services.

The Government recognises that the lives of our citizens have become increasingly digital, leading to higher expectations of public administration performance . Citizens and businesses expect greater transparency and it is the Government’s intention to ensure the trust of its people by opening up to and engaging with stakeholders in decision-making , and ensuring more accountability. In addition, the Government recognises that opening public sector data and services to third parties, in full compliance with the legal framework for the protection of personal data and for privacy, has the potential to contribute to growth and competitiveness.

This eGovernment Strategy also recognises Ireland’s growing influence and role as a European state and, to that end, this Strategy will ensure our alignment to the EU eGovernment Action Plan, which is guided by the following vision:

By 2020, public administrations and public institutions in the European Union should be open, efficient and inclusive, providing borderless, personalised, user-friendly, end-to-end digital public services to all citizens and businesses in the EU. Innovative approaches are used to design and deliver better services in line with the needs and demands of citizens and businesses. Public administrations use the opportunities offered by the new digital environment to facilitate their interactions with stakeholders and with each other.

Consequently, the publication of this eGovernment Strategy confirms the Government of Ireland’s support for the underlying principles of the EU eGovernment Action Plan, which are as follows:

  • Digital by Default:
    We will deliver services digitally as the preferred option through a single contact point or a one-stop-shop and via different channels. We will still keep other channels open for those who are disconnected by choice or necessity and we will explore “assisted digital” for those who feel they would benefit from such a service.
  • Once only principle:
    We will strive to ensure that citizens and businesses only need to supply the same information to us once. We will then internally re-use this data, in due respect of data protection rules, so that no additional burden falls on citizens and businesses.
  • Inclusiveness and accessibility:
    We will design digital public services that are inclusive by default for the widest possible audience (universal design) and cater for a broad range of needs and abilities, including older people and people with disabilities.
  • Openness & transparency:
    We plan to enable citizens and businesses to access, control and correct their own data; we will also enable users to monitor administrative processes that involve them; we will engage and consult with key stakeholders (such as citizens, businesses, researchers and non-profit organisations) in the design and delivery of services.
  • Cross-border by default:
    We will develop the capability to make relevant digital public services available across borders (where permitted to do so) to facilitate mobility within the Single Market.
  • Interoperability by default:
    we will design and review public services taking into account the wider desire that these should where possible work seamlessly across the European Digital Single Market and across organisational silos.
  • Trustworthiness & Security:
    Our aspiration is to go beyond compliance with the legal framework on personal data protection and privacy, and best practice in IT security, by integrating those elements in the design phase of new public service projects. We recognise that these are important pre-conditions for increasing trust in and take-up of digital services.


Digital Health Services

Healthcare in Ireland is changing radically as a result of various demographic, organisational and resourcing factors, the increasing proliferation of technology and in particular the internet. These factors mean that future healthcare systems will need to be radically different in order to respond efficiently and equitably to forecasted demand. Demographic changes resulting mainly from an ageing population have been projected to add 1% per annum to our health care costs for the foreseeable future. Significant other costs will arise from expected rises in chronic disease rates as well as increasing demand and complexity of healthcare services.

The eHealth strategy published by the Government in 2013 demonstrates how the individual citizen, the Irish healthcare delivery systems – both public and private – and the economy as a whole will benefit from eHealth. It shows how the proper introduction and utilisation of eHealth will ensure;

  • The patient is placed at the centre of the healthcare delivery system and becomes an empowered participant in the provision and pursuit of their own health and wellbeing.
  • The successful delivery of health systems reform and the associate structural, financial and service changes planned.
  • The realisation of substantial health service efficiencies including optimum resource utilisation.
  • That Ireland’s healthcare system can respond to the challenge defined by the EU task force report – Redesigning health in Europe for 2020 – to ensure that in the future all EU citizens have access to a high level of healthcare, anywhere in the Union, and at a reasonable cost to our healthcare systems.
  • That the potential of eHealth as a driver for economic growth and development can be realised.


The delivery of eHealth to Ireland means digital transformation. It means the agile transition to an underlying healthcare model that exploits digital infrastructure that is making Ireland the digital hub for Europe. This evolution will enable commonly shared capabilities and access to information throughout health and removes silos of information that exist today. It will ensure that excellence is shared – not piloted in obscurity, but enabled and encouraged to realise benefits to patients.

eHealth is an important enabler to the sharing and protecting of information and providing a range of services digitally for patients. The Department of Health and the Health Services Executive through eHealth Ireland are focused on delivering technology to securely support healthcare, grounded in the outcomes it delivers and not deploying technology for its own sake. Digital solutions enabled by the deployment of the individual health identifier will deliver a range of patient focussed services based technology to support electronic health records, ePrescriptions, digital radiology enabling connected health solutions.

The strategy is being realised through the implementation of the HSE’s Knowledge and Information Plan which aims to deliver an electronic health record for Ireland. It will no longer be acceptable for technology professionals to simply support the business; the delivery of digital health will be the business of the health services.Thus, the developments in eHealth are consistent with the national eGovernment Strategy; moreover, there is an excellent opportunity to use the national principles and plans to also help in the delivery of excellence in eHealth service provision.