To organise the governance for eHealth, the European Commission is supporting two platforms: the eHealth Network and the eHealth Governance Initiative.
The eHealth Network is the main decision body on eHealth at European level. It gathers representatives of the Member States at high level, on a voluntary basis, to define a common vision and strategy for eHealth across Europe.
The eHealth network was established by article 14 of the ‘Directive (2011/24/EU) on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare’ which defines the role Network: ‘foster cooperation between Member States to ensure EU wide interoperability of electronic health systems and wider use of eHealth. Specifically, the network is expected to draw up guidelines:
On the minimum set of common data to be included in patient summaries to be transferred across borders;
Methods to enable the use of medical information for public health and medical research; Common identification and authentication measures to ensure transferability of data in cross-border healthcare’.
The eHealth Network meets two times a year to agree on common priorities and identifies areas for cooperation.
eHealth Network webpage.
The eHealth Governance Initiative (eHGI) is supported by the European Commission but is a Member State driven mechanism to establish a governance structure for eHealth within Europe. Its mission is to enhance cooperation between Member States, develop a joint vision for eHealth and create a mechanism linking the political level (eHealth Network) and the operational level.
The eHGI operates operates as a preparatory body for the eHealth Network decisions. It is an EU funded project that will end in 2014. The governance part of the eHGI will be replaced by the Connecting Europe facility (to be established in 2014).
The eHealth Stakeholder Group was established on 29 February 2012. It gathers representatives of 29 European umbrella organisations active in the eHealth sector, appointed for a period of three years. The group is expected to contribute to the development of legislation and policy related to eHealth. It has three sub-groups on interoperability, telemedicine and online access to health records.