eHealth: First electronic health records of patients exchanged between EU countries


Today, first health records of patients are exchanged in the EU thanks to the cross-border electronic health services. As of now doctors in Luxembourg will be able to receive digital Patient Summaries of travellers coming from Czechia. These Patient Summaries provide background information on important health-related aspects such as allergies, current medication, previous illness, surgeries, etc., making it digitally accessible in case of a medical emergency visit in another country. It is a summary of a patient’s health data stored in electronic format. Also, as of this week, Finland and Croatia are exchanging ePrescriptions: Finnish citizens can now retrieve in Croatian pharmacies the medicines prescribed electronically by their doctor in Finland.  Since January this year, over 2,000 Finnish patients have already been able to get their medicines in Estonia. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “I congratulate Czechia, Luxembourg and Croatia for taking their steps in eHealth cooperation, and I hope other countries will follow soon. Sharing Patient Summaries and ePrescriptions is important for patient safety as it can help doctors to understand better the patient’s medical history, can reduce the risks of incorrect medication and can contribute to better care. In an emergency situation, this can save lives. The Commission will continue its support to expand better care for citizens around the EU.” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, added: “Today’s achievement is another step in bringing tangible benefits of our European method to citizens. In a digital single market, citizens expect their health records and doctor’s prescriptions to be accessible and usable wherever they are located. I look forward to more countries rolling out such infrastructure so that this becomes a reality for all citizens.” These services are made possible thanks to “My health @ European Union”, the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure which connects the eHealth national services, allowing them to exchange health data, and which is funded by the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility. Data protection rules are strictly observed – patients have to provide their consent before these services are accessed. 22 Member States are part of the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure and are expected to exchange ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries by 2022. Seven Member States (Finland, Estonia, Czechia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Croatia and Malta) are progressively launching these exchanges by the end of 2019.