Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

EU takes major step to improve cross-border care

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On the 19th of November, at the 4th eHealth Network meeting in Brussels, the EU member states adopted guidelines to make it possible to share basic health information across borders. Aim: to improve patient safety.

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The new guidelines make it possible for patients, upon explicit request, to have a summary of their electronic health record available when visiting another country in the EU. This will improve patient safety and continuity of care.

So in the event of planned, unplanned or emergency care, the doctor in the country of treatment will have an electronic overview of the patient:

  • A set of basic administrative data such as details of the healthcare provider in the home country, insurance info;
  • Medical information on for example allergies, vaccinations and recent surgical procedures.  

Next to being beneficial for patients, the guidelines are also good for national authorities. Currently, many EU member states are in the process of developing their own national electronic health records. As well as providing guidance, these recommendations could give national authorities valuable reference both on the procedure and the content of their national patient summary records.

The guidelines were developed and agreed on by the eHealth Network, a group of representatives of all 28 EU countries. The Network is co-chaired by the European Commission and Austria.

'Landmark agreement'

Speaking at the eHealth Network meeting, Paola Testori Coggi, Director General for DG Health & Consumers, European Commission, said: "The adoption of these guidelines is a landmark agreement on EU cooperation on eHealth. This is where we really begin to see a concrete outcome on collaboration in eHealth for the benefit of patients, after years of discussion".

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