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Action 76: Propose a recommendation to define a minimum common set of patient data

The action aimed at the Commission to work with Member States competent authorities and all interested stakeholders to propose a recommendation defining a minimum common set of patient data for interoperability of patient records to be accessed or exchanged electronically across Member States by 2014; Implementation of this action is also expected to contribute to Action 77.

The common data set is defined. On the 19th November 2013, the eHealth Network of Member States approved it.

What is the problem? Lack of interoperability undermine patients' safety

Misunderstanding and loss of medical data in critical and emergency situations could lead to medical errors with huge impact on patient safety and final patient results. Defining a minimum common set of patient data for EU Member States as a common base of interoperable Electronic Health Records will contribute to improve patient safety by reducing the risk of medical errors, by avoiding preventable adverse effects and by reducing interactions between different medicines and drugs; will improve the quality of treatment, and the efficiency of the healthcare service thanks to a timely sharing of accurate health data. 

Why is EU Action needed? Cooperation at European level will achieve multiple benefits

On the basis of epSOS results[1], the Commission will provide support to the eHealth network[2] in its task to prepare guidelines defining a minimum common set of patient data to be accessed and exchanged electronically. This  will unlock multiple benefits such as timely access to relevant and medical patient data; higher quality and safety of care, as life-saving information will be easily accessed; opportunities for market development.

DAE action 76 is contributing to the delivery of the European Innovation Partnership on active and healthy ageing, proposed under the Innovation Union flagship.

What has the Commission done so far?

In 2012:

  • Funded pilot projects to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data
  • Followed the legislative processes on proposals for a Regulation on the protection of personal data and a Regulation on mutual recognition on eID and eSignature
  • Adopted a New eHealth Action plan 2012-2020.

In 2013:

  • Launched a call for tender for a legal study on the legal framework of Electronic Health Records in Member States.
  • epSOS proposed to the eHealth Network a minimum common set of patient data for discussion
  • Supported the eHealth Network in agreeing on and adopting a (non-exhaustive) minimum common set of patient data that can be shared across borders.
  • epSOS evaluated the proposed minimum common set of patient data

The implementation of the guidelines will be a recurring activity for Member States.


[1] The large scale pilot epSOS (www.epsos.eu) aims at developing, testing, and validating the interoperability of patient summaries.

[2] The eHealth Network was set-up by Directive 2011/24 on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare

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