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How it works

eHealth refers to tools and services using information and communication technologies (ICTs) that can improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management. So far the Digital Service Infrastructure for eHealth is planned to support several services:


Patient Summary
When a citizen makes an unplanned cross-border healthcare visit to a health provider in the EU, the health professional will have access to the person's Patient Summary (eHealth Network guidelines).


ePrescriptions and eDispensation
The ePrescriptions and eDispensations (eHealth Network guidelines) support the concept that a patient being abroad can receive the equivalent medication treatment that he would receive in his home country.

  • ePrescribing consist in an electronic prescription of medicine by a health professional and its electronic transmission to a pharmacy where the medicine can then be dispensed.
  • eDispensing, instead, is defined as the electronic retrieval of a prescription and the dispensing of the medicine to the patient as indicated in the corresponding ePrescription.


European Reference Networks (ERNs)

They are virtual networks  involving healthcare providers across Europe. They aim to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment and concentrated knowledge and resources. To review a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, ERN coordinators convene ‘virtual’ advisory boards of medical specialists across different disciplines, using a dedicated IT platform and telemedicine tools. For more information please check ERN dedicated website.

The process and criteria for establishing an ERN and for selecting its members are set in EU legislation. The first ERNs were launched in March 2017, involving more than 900 highly-specialised healthcare units from over 300 hospitals in 26 Member States.


In the future, Interoperable Patient registries might be deployed. 

The Digital Service Infrastructure for eHealth will be composed by core services at EU level which facilitate the generic services operated by the Member States to exchange of patient data and information on prescriptions with each other. It is foreseen that the Digital Service Infrastructure for eHealth will be fully operational by 2020.

What's in it for me?

Are you a citizen or a patient?
You may use cross-border services, improved patients safety through continuity of care for example by immediate access to clinical information needed when abroad or enjoying the continuity of care across borders through ePrescriptions.


Are you a health professional?
You will work more efficiently as parts of the patients’ data would already be available.

Are you a researcher?
The digitalisation of health data will provide the possibility for a possibility for a quicker and accessible health data.

Are you a public administration or a private company?
The deployment of eHealth solutions will increase safety and quality of care throughout the EU.

For example, ePrescriptions which will also support the documentation of dispensed drugs.

In addition, this would facilitate the collecting and consolidating clinical data across borders to support public health policies and research.



Building block reuse

eHealth has committed to reuse the eDelivery, eID, and eSignature Building Blocks.

New to the Building Blocks?

Go here for background information about the CEF Digital Building Blocks, service offerings, governance and definitions.