Citizens throughout Europe today take for granted the digital technologies that allow them to communicate with their peers anytime, anywhere, or to manage bookings for transportation, accommodation and leisure activities with a few simple clicks. This is a development promoted by the European Union over the past decade: EU decisionmakers have made the digital transformation a policy priority and have invested significantly in legislation and funding apt to support the transition.

Digitalisation has been slower in the health sector than elsewhere, a fact often attributed to the strict regulatory environments that underpin healthcare provision in Europe, the nature of the risks incurred when a technology fails, and the sensitivity of handling personal health data (Schuller, 2020; EIT Health, 2020). For all of these reasons, few had suspected the speed at which change could, and did sweep through European health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.