Article of the Month!
The Commission Recommendation on cross-border interoperability of electronic health record systems (hereinafter referred to as 'the Recommendation') has been drafted as a follow-up to the Community eHealth Action Plan which, in 2004, defined interoperability of electronic health records as one of the priorities for Member States in the roadmap annexed to the Action Plan.
The Recommendation is intended to support the premise that connecting people, systems and services is vital for the provision of good healthcare in Europe insofar as it is necessary to enable the free flow of patients as well as eHealth products and services, and hence may contribute significantly to the establishment and functioning of the internal market.
Recent developments in information and communications technology (ICT) systems and services in different Member States have resulted in a proliferation of incompatible ICT formats and standards in healthcare institutions. The resulting lack of interoperability (the ability to 'talk to each other') between health ICT systems in different regions and Member States causes problems for travelling persons and the health professionals who might treat them.
This lack of interoperability is a particular issue for the use of electronic health record systems (EHR systems), which are used to collect digital information about an individual's medical treatments over a certain period of time, perhaps even a lifetime. Fully interoperable EHR systems should make access to patients' information easier, as well as enhance the quality and safety of patient care throughout the Community by providing patients and health professionals with relevant and up-to-date information while ensuring protection of personal data and confidentiality.
When systems become more interoperable, the need for building safeguards against abuse grows as well. Health records are among the most sensitive records available containing information concerning an individual. The unauthorised disclosure of a medical condition or diagnosis could negatively impact an individual's personal and professional life. Maintaining health records in an electronic form increases the risk that patients information could be accidentally exposed or easily distributed to unauthorised parties.
Download Commission Recommendation on Cross-Border Interoperability of Electronic Health Record Systems (.pdf, 91 KB).
Download from the eHealthNews.EU Portal's mirror: Commission Recommendation on Cross-Border Interoperability of Electronic Health Record Systems (.pdf, 91 KB).
For further information:
ICT for Health
European Commission - Information society and Media DG
Office: BU31 06/73 B-1049 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 296 41 94
Fax: +32 2 296 01 81