Action 77: Foster EU-wide standards, interoperability testing and certification of eHealth

What is the problem? Lack of a common EU interoperability, testing and certification framework contributes to market Fragmentation

The eHealth market in the EU is highly fragmented, reflecting the different national, regional, local or event project based interoperability frameworks that are defined by competent authorities (if defined at all). As a result, the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) solutions provided are tailored only for one specific location or service provider and thus risk being more expensive, closed, non-reliable and non-interoperable elsewhere. Interoperability testing is done on a project or on a local level and there is no certification scheme making the life of purchasers of eHealth systems easier.

Why is EU action required? The development of an EU eHealth Interoperability, testing and certification framework is essential to reduce market fragmentation

EU action will support the creation and seek the endorsement by major stakeholders (starting with the eHealth Network) of an EU eHealth Interoperability Framework composed of 4 levels or dimensions: technical, semantic, organisational and legal. Those levels will then be populated with standards, specifications, use cases, workflows, subset of terminologies, interoperability agreements, guidelines developed by standards development organisations, fora, consortia or EU funded projects after they have been identified or endorsed by the relevant governance bodies (eHealth Network, ICT Standards Multistakeholders platform and later the CEF governance).

In a second stage, an EU Interoperability testing and certification framework will be developed and proposed to the stakeholders (starting with the eHealth Network) for their endorsement.

DAE action 77 will also contribute to the delivery of the European Innovation Partnership in the field of active and healthy ageing, proposed under the Innovation Union flagship.

What has the Commission done?

In 2012:

  • Develop a proposal for a European eHealth Interoperability Framework
  • Propose a set of specifications to be first identified by the ICT standards multistakeholders platform and then included in the technical level of the Interoperability Framework.
  • Guide existing CIP or FP7 projects such as epSOS, SemanticHealthNet, or Transform to contribute to the EU eHealth Interoperability Framework (recurring activity).
  • EU-US MoU: Agree on a roadmap supporting the objectives of the EU-US Memorandum of Understanding on eHealth interoperability standards and specifications.
  • Launch a project to develop a quality management system for interoperability testing and organise dissemination events to promote the use and take up of eHealth interoperability standards.
  • Leverage the results, assets and recommendations developed by the epSOS project to contribute to the eHealth Interoperability Framework, starting with a set of data of patients' summary for cross-border exchange.
  • Develop a common interoperability framework for eID in eHealth in a cross sectorial and mutual recognition perspective.

What will the Commission do?

In 2013:

  • Propose the European eHealth Interoperability Framework for endorsement by the eHealth Network.
  • Propose specifications for their identification by the ICT standards multistakeholders platform for their endorsement by the eHealth Network and inclusion in the Interoperability Framework (recurring activity).
  • Guide and ensure coordination between existing CIP or FP7 projects such as epSOS, SemanticHealthNet, Transform, simple cross sector services to contribute to the EU eHealth Interoperability Framework. Launch relevant projects according to interoperability needs (recurring activity).
  • Strengthen cooperation with International organisations such as IHTSDO and WHO in matters related to interoperability and standardization (recurring activity).
  • Leverage the results, assets and recommendations developed by the epSOS project to contribute to the eHealth Interoperability Framework, starting with a set of data of patients' summary for cross-border exchange.
  • EU-US MoU: publish and implement the agreed roadmap (recurring activity).
  • Propose an interoperability framework for eID for its endorsement by the eHealth Network.
  • Establish the governance of the Connecting Europe Facility related to eHealth Interoperability.

In 2014

  • Leverage the results, assets and recommendations developed by the epSOS, eSense and other EC projects to contribute to the eHealth Interoperability Framework and to the launch of the CEF.
  • Launch the deployment of interoperable eHealth cross border services on large scale under the CEF (recurring activity).

In 2015

  • Propose an EU eHealth Interoperability testing and certification framework to the eHealth Network for its endorsement.