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EU policy for eHealth

Information and Communication Technology for health and wellbeing ('eHealth') is becoming increasingly important to deliver top-quality care to European citizens. The 'eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020' of the European Commission describes the actions foreseen on this topic.

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The first EU eHealth Action Plan 2004-2011 covered electronic prescriptions and health cards to new information systems that reduce waiting times and errors, in order to facilitate a more harmonious and complementary European approach to eHealth (read the assessment report).

The second eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 (see the prior public consultation) operates in the context of Article 14 of Directive 2011/24 on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. It focuses on the following:

Together with the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, the Commission issued a Staff Working Document (SWD) on Telemedicine to help deal with the legal aspects related to data protection rules, privacy matters and reimbursement.

NB: Both the eHealth Action Plan and the SWD on Telemedicine are intended as guidelines, and are not binding on Member States.

The eHealth Network is a voluntary network of representatives from all national authorities in the EU. It draws up guidelines, for example on how to apply patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. In general, the network aims to enhance interoperability between electronic health systems and continuity of care and to ensure access to safe and quality healthcare.