Today, in Europe, more and more initiatives are launched at national, regional or local level to enable health professionals to access the medical and medication history of their patients at any time and any place.

Today, in Europe, we can see that more and more initiatives are launched at national, regional or local level to enable health professionals to access the medical and medication history of their patients at any time and any place. This access is however often limited by various barriers. European citizens have become more mobile; they travel and work abroad and when they need healthcare away from home it should be delivered based on knowledge of the past medical history.

Member States have taken important steps towards a collaborative approach for resolving this cross-borders issue; the European Commission is supporting such collaboration initiatives through both its policy initiatives and funding instruments.

Currently, through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), the European Commission is co-funding two collaboration actions aiming at moving forward the agenda for interoperable cross border eHealth: epSOS, a Large Scale Pilot, and CALLIOPE, a European Thematic Network. Both initiatives are joining their forces in a strategic complementary approach:

  • epSOS (Smart Open Services for European Patients) is developing interoperable Patient Summaries and ePrescription services to be piloted within the three years life time of the project; a long term perspective is guaranteed by the commitment of the participating Member States, and
  • CALLIOPE (Call for Interoperability) is supporting this process by providing a European platform for open dialogue and strategic collaborations with relevant stakeholders to further advance the development of interoperable eHealth services and facilitate their adoption.

These projects are working in close collaboration with the INTEROP project) launched by three European Standardisation organisations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) with the support of the European Commission with the view to enable the market to deliver interoperable solutions.

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About epSOS

epSOS stands for Smart Open Services for European Patients and focuses on Interoperable Patient Summaries and ePrescribing. It involves 27 beneficiaries from 12 EU-member states, including ministries of health, national competence centres and industry. The project will deliver and validate interoperable patients' summaries and ePrescription solutions, which will enable the exchange of data in a safe, secure and interoperable manner also across national borders. The solutions (applications/services) will be based on existing national systems.

Ensuring that such solutions meet user needs is one of the key challenges for epSOS. The involvement of all key stakeholders including health professionals, patients, insurers and other Member States which are not directly involved in the project, is key for the success of epSOS.

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The strategy for achieving an open approach without adding burden to the project itself is to seek strategic collaborations with initiatives with complementary focus and activities, which would add value in terms of accommodating the needed EU level dialogue and debate in a dedicated and efficient manner. This will be pursued via the CALLIOPE (CALL for InterOPErability in eHealth) platform for dialogue and exchange.

CALLIOPE is a Network which currently brings together additional 9 EU and EFTA countries not currently represented in epSOS project, and 10 EU stakeholder associations – IT industry, doctors, pharmacists, insurance organisations and patients - under the common theme of cross border eHealth. Its members are representatives of national public authorities, competence centres and EU level stakeholder non-governmental organisations that are mandated with the planning and the implementation of eHealth. The broader eHealth community will also be associated to CALLIOPE through the establishment of the so-called CALLIOPE Forum, and will be empowered, through a structured approach to contribute to the debate and benefit from best practice exchange. By the end of 2008, the founding CALLIOPE members had set up the Network Governance to secure openness, transparency and integrity and has now announced that it is ready to engage in collaborations such as the one pursued by epSOS.



In 2007 The European Commission issued a mandate to the European Standardization Organisations (ESOs), CEN, CENELEN and ETSI, to develop a co-ordinated work programme for standardization in health informatics (Mandate M/403). The co-ordinating group of the resulting eHealth Interop project has developed a proposed work programme to progress this work over the next three years.