At today's 2007 eHealth Conference, the representatives of the European Member States and additional members of the European Economic Area adopted a common Declaration. The representatives agreed to pursue co-ordinated and structured co-operation in the area of cross- border electronic health services throughout Europe.
Electronic health services are applications such as the electronic prescription or the electronic patient file and additional services that, in Germany, are to be gradually extended with the electronic health card.
On this aspect, the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Klaus Theo Schröder, commented: "By adopting today's Declaration, we seek to ensure that, in the future, electronic health services for Europe's citizens do not stop at national borders. We want to give patients access to their medication records and patient summaries from everywhere within the European Union. This not only serves the continuity of care but also affords safety in an emergency."
An understanding was reached on the following items:
National eHealth infrastructures are the pre-requisite for cross-border solutions
European standardisation will open up market opportunities
National roadmaps must be taken into account
Implementations require greater synergies with research and education
It is essential that all Member States of the European Union work together on common standards
It is vital that the eHealth industry and other stakeholders be involved
The Declaration already identifies the next immediate steps with respect to European co-operation. Specifically, Large Scale Pilots will test the application of improved patient summaries in different health contexts such as medical emergencies or the writing and dispensing of prescriptions.
Franz de Bruine, Director, European Commission, Directorate-General Information Society and Media, commented as follows:
"The 2007 eHealth Conference has proved to be a great success and I wish to thank the German Council Presidency for the smooth organisation. This event has deepened the co-operation among the Member States and all stakeholders. The Commission welcomes the Declaration on European co-operation in the field of Europe-wide electronic health services. The European Commission is supporting the first steps towards their concrete implementation by means of Large Scale Pilots. The co-operation on e-health services will help build a European health information space for the benefit of Europe's citizens."
Dorjan Maruši?, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia added: "We now have the opportunity to further the main theme of the German EU Presidency 'Europe - succeeding together' and make it tangible on the ground in our citizens’ everyday life. We intend to continue the initiative of Germany's Council Presidency. Our national activities provide a sound basis for achieving this aim.“
You can access the Declaration at: http://www.bmg.bund.de