Several Member States have implemented these services in their national healthcare systems and several others are about to do so. However, many of them cannot currently communicate with each other.
These services will only be widely used if they are trusted by both patients and healthcare professionals Appropriate data protection, system security and performance criteria need to be included in any cross border application.
The objective of the S.O.S. project is to ensure that these national solutions can "talk to each other". S.O.S. aims at enabling health professionals to electronically access the data of a patient from another country in their own language, using different technologies and systems. It will also make it possible for pharmacies to electronically process prescriptions from other Member States, so that patients travelling within the EU can obtain the essential medicine.
The project follows a bottom-up approach; it builds on existing technical solutions, and develops a set of specifications to ensure the interoperability of solutions, including security and identification systems and performance criteria.
The project will examine the level of maturity and deployment of patient summaries and ePrescriptions in the participating countries, and explore legal questions and develop technical specifications covering all basic components for a secure use of personal health data. In a second phase, the project will define, test and validate these solutions in real-life situations.
The approach will form the basis for a longer term, pan-European approach to building service solutions that will be able to work with each other.
The project responds to the commitment of Member States and the European Commission to achieve full interoperability of eHealth services. It will benefit from guidance provided by the Commission on making of electronic health record systems work together.
The Project Consortium is a broad coalition of stakeholders. It consists of 27 beneficiaries representing 12 EU Member States including ministries of health, national competence centres, a research institute and an industry team of more than 30 companies.
The SOS project has a total budget of over 23 million Euro for the next 3 years, 11 million of which is covered by the European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, Programme to Support Policy (CIP-PSP).
During the lifetime of the project, the project will work in close cooperation with the CALLIOPE network (Call for Interoperable eHealth services in Europe) to ensure that benefits can be shared with non-participant countries.
The Calliope network will be consulted on specific topics during the project. CALLIOPE's activities will contribute to raise awareness and create consensus around the overall issue of interoperability of eHealth services.
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
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