In 2018, twelve EU Member States will start exchanging patient data on a regular basis. Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Croatia, and Estonia will share electronic prescriptions. Five more countries are scheduled to join the network in 2019, and another wave is expected for 2020.

"Starting next summer, Finnish digital prescriptions will be valid in Estonian pharmacies and in the summer of 2019 Estonian digital prescriptions will be available in Finnish pharmacies. This exchange could serve to inspire the Nordic countries and Baltic States to further develop cross-border e-services," said Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in a press release earlier this month.

In 2018, the European eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure will start operating, sharing patient summaries and e-prescriptions in a safe way across borders. This communication infrastructure is provided jointly by the European Commission and the national healthcare systems.

Until now European healthcare systems exchanged digital patient data only in projects, and on a limited scale. This time, twelve EU Member States will start exchanging patient data in 2018. They are backed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a funding programme which promotes growth, jobs and competitiveness in Europe.

Most of the twelve countries that have decided to become early adopters and go live in 2018, will exchange electronic patient summaries. Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Croatia, and Estonia will share electronic prescriptions. Five more countries are scheduled to join the network in 2019, and another wave is expected for 2020 with six more countries currently negotiating to join the club.

Himss Insights has published a story about this.