On June 21, the first patient health records of the EU were exchanged, thanks to the Cross-border Electronic Health Service.
The electronic cross-border health service is an infrastructure ensuring the continuity of care for European citizens while they are travelling abroad in the EU. This gives EU countries the possibility to exchange health data in a secure, efficient and interoperable way.
The following two electronic cross-border health services are currently progressively introduced in all EU countries:
- ePrescription (and eDispensation) allows EU citizens to obtain their medication in a pharmacy located in another EU country, thanks to the online transfer of their electronic prescription from their country of residence where they are affiliated, to their country of travel.
- Patient Summary provides information on important health related aspects such as allergies, current medication, previous illness, surgeries, etc. It is part of a larger collection of health data called electronic Health Record. The digital Patient Summary is meant to provide doctors with essential information in their own language concerning the patient, when the patient comes from another EU country and there may be a linguistic barrier. On a longer term, not only the basic medical information of the Patient Summary, but the full Health Record should become available across the EU. The exchange of ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries is open to all the Member States.
Both ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries can be exchanged between EU countries thanks to the new eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI).
In addition, data protection rules are strictly adhered to in this matter, so patients must provide their consent before accessing these services. In total, twenty-two Member States are part of the eHealth Digital Services Infrastructure, and are expected to exchange numerous electronic prescriptions and patient summaries by 2022
Exchanges which are already operational
- Finland: ePrescriptions of outgoing travellers
- Estonia: ePrescriptions of incoming travellers
- Luxembourg: Patient Summaries of incoming travellers
- Czech Republic: Patient Summaries of outgoing travellers
- Croatia: ePrescriptions of incoming travellers
By 2021, both services will gradually be implemented in 22 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.