Cross Border eHealth

All EU citizens could benefit from cross-border healthcare in the European Union: They would be supplied in the country that can provide them with the best treatment for their particular disease.


In 2011 the European legislature created the legal basis for a safe and high-quality EU-wide health care, which is to ensure patient mobility and promote cooperation between Member States on healthcare (Directive 2011/24/EU of 9th March 2011). The scheme is in line with the principles of the European Union, enabling free flow of goods and services.


With its eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 "Innovative healthcare for the 21st Century" the EU Commission will adopt the successfully completed pilot projects in standard care. The specific obstacles that impede the use of digital solutions in the European healthcare systems shall be tackled. The focus will be the central patient record and electronic prescription. In order for the implementation to run smoothly, other bases must be created, some of which were developed and tested in earlier projects as "EPSO" (www.epsos.eu). These include the introduction of nodes that join the national health networks with each other, the possibility of unique identification of patients (eID), standards for networking of actors and a unified European e-prescription. For the latter, the European legislature has already laid the groundwork in a regulation which must be transposed by the Member States now.


The proliferation of e-health applications is very different in the individual EU member states. In Europe, there are already a number of successful, patient-friendly and safer models.
In Denmark, a large part of the health system run through the portal sundhed.dk that has existed since 1993. With a password, for example, patients can access their medical records or prescriptions, just as doctors or pharmacists. The aim is that the patient's data are available when needed at any time and anywhere. This increases the quality of care for patients and care providers. The networking of the participants in the healthcare thus becomes the central element of the Danish e-health strategy.


Switzerland successfully introduced an electronic recipe several years ago. It brought more safety, more transparency and more efficiency in the health system and provides significant added value for the patient. The electronic prescription is changing the conventional processes between doctor, patient, pharmacist and health insurance. In addition to the potential savings, it also contributes to increase patient's compliance because the doctor learns whether and when the prescription was issued.


If one compares in Germany on the other hand, the state of digitisation in the healthcare sector with the contents of the planned national eHealth Act, the backlog of demand is clear. The law remains sharply below expectations and only creates the basis for a functioning system.


In the use of eHealth, EAMSP sees a substantial improvement in the safety of medicinal drugs, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, in particular in rural areas. It is therefore working actively for rapid distribution in Europe. For this reason the EAMSP is also a member of the European Health Telematics Association (www.ehtel.eu). In the Federation, many international actors have joined forces in the healthcare sector.