Fostering the deployment of digital infrastructures for the cross-border exchange

Fostering the deployment of digital infrastructures for the cross-border exchange
© iStock/jamielawton

Do you think the deployment of digital infrastructures can be achieved for the cross-border exchange of health data in Europe?

Maybe it can – The recently published ‘2019 CEF Telecom eHealth call’ introduced during the Infoday1 held on the 10 July 2019 in Brussels, enables Member States either to join the existing pool of countries which are already pioneering the digital cross border exchange of health data, or to expand their existing capabilities with additional services and types of exchanged data. Perhaps with the 2019 Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding an effective deployment of digital infrastructures could indeed be achieved.

The call is open until the 14 November 2019 and offers €5 million of funding available in this area.

eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure

eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure is the digital cross-border health service infrastructure ensuring the continuity of care for European citizens while they are travelling abroad in the EU. This gives EU countries the possibility to exchange health data in a secure, efficient and interoperable way.

On 21 January, the first two countries, Finland and Estonia, started using the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure to exchange ePrescriptions, and almost 3000 ePrescriptions have been dispensed since the launch of the service.

Until now, other Member States (Luxembourg, Czech Republic and Croatia) joined the services. To date, 22 Member States have committed to join the data exchange by the end of 2021.

The setup of these services across European Commission is offering invaluable possibilities for citizens requiring unplanned medical care abroad and travellers with chronic medical conditions. This reduces the unnecessary checks and risks of wrong medication and allows patients, while abroad, to receive equivalent medication to what they would receive in their home country.

The world of digital infrastructures: ePrescriptions and patient summaries

At present, the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure enables the running of two services:

  1. ePrescriptions; and
  2. Patient summaries.

ePrescriptions and eDispensation allow any EU citizen to retrieve his/her medication in a pharmacy located in another EU Member State, thanks to the electronic transfer of their prescription from his/her country of residence to the country of travel.

The Patient Summaries provide background information on important health-related aspects such as allergies, current medication, previous illness, surgeries, etc., making it digitally accessible in case of a medical (emergency) visit in another country.

Moe about the CEF

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was established by Regulation (EU) N° 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council to provide European financial assistance to trans-European networks in order to support projects of common interest, in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy.

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