The European Commission yesterday adopted its Recommendation on a European Electronic Health Record Exchange format. You can access the full document here: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/recommendation-european-electronic-health-record-exchange-format
Member States have already started to make some parts of electronic health records accessible and exchangeable across borders. Since 21 January 2019, Finnish citizens can buy medicines using their ePrescriptions in Estonia and Luxembourgish doctors will be soon able to access the patient summaries of Czech patients.
This document proposes that Member States extend this work to three new areas of the health record, namely to laboratory tests, medical discharge reports and images and imaging reports.
As a result, access to complete and personal health records across the EU can offer immense benefits to European citizens, such as the following:
- If someone has an accident while travelling in another EU Member State, doctors will have immediate access to information about the patient (e.g. details of chronic conditions, allergies or intolerances to certain medications). This can significantly increase their ability to provide the most effective and timely treatment.
- Increasing the quality and ensure continuity of care for citizens as they move around the EU.
- Boosting medical research into major health challenges such as chronic and neurodegenerative diseases, by easing the sharing of data. This is subject to the citizen’s consent, in a meaningful manner and in full compliance with European data protection rules.
- Supporting the efficiency and sustainability of health systems by, for instance, sharing patient’s recent laboratory or radiology tests of a patient. In this manner, a hospital in another Member State will not need to repeat similar tests, saving time and reducing hospital costs.
To further develop this exchange of information, a Joint Coordination Process between the Commission and the Member States will be set up. This will allow for contributions and input from stakeholders such as industry representatives, health professionals and patients representatives at both EU and national level.
The Joint Coordination Process will ensure that all the relevant parties are involved in the process of developing the European Electronic Health Records (EHR) exchange format. The Member States, within the eHealth Network, will establish practical guidelines for the implementation and monitoring of its progress.