Promoting eHealth interoperability is a priority of the European Commission, as outlined in the Digital Agenda, the eHealth Action Plan, the ICT standardisation Regulation, etc. The objective is to overcome the fragmentation of the eHealth market in Europe by promoting the use of existing EU standards and fostering the adoption of interoperable solutions, to ensure different eHealth systems can exchange information seamlessly within and between countries. EU policies around eHealth interoperability address the four layers of interoperability: technical, organisational, legal and semantic.
The EU is funding and supporting a number of projects/ networks and adopting legislation to support interoperability:
The CEF is a new facility, proposed by the European Commission as part of the multiannual financial framework (EU budget) to be adopted for the period 2014-2020, to support the deployment of interoperable infrastructures in three domains: transport, energy and telecommunications (including eHealth). The CEF should also provide a permanent governance body for eHealth (replacing the project based eHealth Governance Initiative) and should support ‘projects of common interest’ or relevance to eHealth.
The European eHealth Interoperability Framework (EIF) aims to deliver an European eHealth Interoperability Framework, which defines a common set of standards, profiles and procedures relevant to the electronic provision of healthcare services. Member States will be invited to use the framework when deploying eHealth. The Framework should be deployed by 2015.
epSOS is a large scale EU funded project gathering 23 European countries. It aims to design, build and evaluate a service infrastructure to support cross-border interoperability between electronic health record systems in Europe.
SemanticHealthNet is an EU-funded project with the objective to develop a scalable and sustainable pan-European organisational and governance process for the semantic interoperability of clinical and biomedical knowledge, to help ensure that EHR systems are optimised for patient care, public health and clinical research across healthcare systems and institutions.