Healthcare without barriers
Lieu: Various locations (see shotlist)
End production: 02/07/2008 First transmission: 02/07/2008
VNR International short version for EbS
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
Europeans in general are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Healthcare services provided throughout the EU are, generally speaking, of high quality. Citizens prefer to receive the care they need close to their home. However, sometimes it is better or easier for them to receive healthcare abroad. In a 2007 survey, 4% of European citizens said they had received medical treatment abroad in 2006. What is the reason for this?
In Frankfurt for example, Professor Wagner, a renowned pneumologist, treats patients from other countries
ITV Prof T.O.F. Wagner Pneumologist, University of Frankfurt, Germany About 5% of our patients here in Frankfurt come from other European countries for special consultations or for a particular treatment.
In need of a special lung operation, this patient left Italy to come to Germany. He wanted to be treated by one of the best surgeons in the field, who is a specialist in his condition.
As confirmed by the European Court of Justice, citizens have the right to access healthcare in another Member State and for the reimbursement of costs of such a treatment if certain conditions are fulfilled. To improve cross-border care and to make the rules clearer, the European Commission is proposing a better-defined framework for everyone involved in cross-border healthcare – patients and healthcare providers alike.
The European Commission’s draft directive will bring clarity about when a patient is allowed to receive treatment abroad and have it reimbursed. And it will make clear who is responsible to ensure quality and safety of care, including in cross-border settings.
Giving patients access to the most appropriate treatment does not necessarily mean they have to travel from one country to another.
ITV Androulla Vassiliou Commissioner for Health, European Commission
There is a great potential for co-operation between healthcare systems to achieve better healthcare for all, An illustration of the great benefit of co-operation is making more effective and safer use of information and communication technologies in health. Indeed telemedicine tools can enable, for instance, specialist support from large hospitals to smaller local facilities, and can enable patients to be provided with opinions on diagnostic images from experts located elsewhere.
Sharing the information is the concept which is at the very heart of a Danish initiative on cross-border health care collaboration: the Baltic eHealth project, undertaken by the hospital at Funen in the south of the country and co-financed by the European Commission.
Faced with a heavy demand for health care and, importantly, a lack of local practitioners, the establishment of a pilot project such as Baltic eHealth makes good sense.
ITV Leslie Cristensen Radiologist, Funen Hospital, Denmark The purpose of Baltic eHealth consists of finding a technical solution for connecting the health care data network of Norway, Sweden and Denmark to that of Estonia and Lithuania.
An example: an x-ray made in Funen is provided to an Estonian radiologist on a server. Then will make a diagnosis in his own language using a template. Thanks to the system, it is instantly translated into Danish.
Cross-border healthcare can be beneficial to all – patients, doctors, hospitals, health systems. The European Commission is aiming to make clear the conditions under which treatment abroad can be reimbursed and also to clarify where the responsibility for the quality and safety of healthcare lies. The cross-border health care directive is an important step to achieve these goals.