EU4Digital event highlights interoperability in eHealth across the EU

  • Date: 08/07/21
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On 29 June, the EU4Digital eHealth stream organised a virtual event aimed at providing an update on recent eHealth interoperability developments across the EU. This is the third virtual event in a series of planned eHealth collaboration events for this year, bringing together eHealth Network members together from the six Eastern partner countries. 

In the first part of the event, a guest speaker from the European Commission, Dr. Reza Razavi, Research Programme Officer for EU Policies, presented a recorded message from Ceri Thompson Deputy Head of Unit, DG CNECT eHealth, Well-being and ageing, who provided an update on the new EU programmes and initiatives in support of Digital Health, including:

  • Overview of EU data strategy and data actions
  • Legislative initiative on the European Health Data Space
  • Declaration for delivering cross-border access to genomic database
  • European Cancer imaging initiative
  • Regulation on Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Reza Razavi explained that digital transformation of health and care across the EU focuses on the use of digital services for patient-centred care, providing better access to their health data and connecting and sharing health data for research and better health outcomes. 

In the second part of the event, guest speaker Filipe Mealha (representative of SPMS – shared services for Ministry of Health) introduced the Portuguese experience in eHealth interoperability. The speaker introduced the Portuguese National Data Strategy, stressing the importance of health data for delivering healthcare (primary use of data), as well as research, policy making and regulatory activities (secondary use of data). In the next part of the presentation, the eHealth Network was introduced to the Portuguese interoperable eHealth ecosystem enabling electronic cross-border health services. The speaker explained how the Digital EU Covid Certificate has been introduced and now operates in a complex ecosystem, enabling patients to look up and retrieve the certificates. 

Another guest speaker, Carlos Mateu Lopez (Head of interoperability and technologies, FTSS), then shared recent updates on eHealth interoperability in Catalonia. The eHealth Network was introduced to the digital health ecosystem in Catalonia, as well as several interoperability developments, including interoperability platform (IS3), pathology image repository (PAT-SIMDCAT), and mobility data repository (mConnecta). 

In the final part of the event, representatives from the six Eastern partner countries were invited to share their updates on recent eHealth interoperability developments. The representative from Belarus spoke about their work in legal, semantic and technical areas of interoperability. For example, application of telemedicine technologies and introduction of functioning centralised eHealth system are going to be part of new legislation in the country. The representative from Ukraine spoke about their work on electronic health services (ePrescription, eMedical Records, eReferrals and others), and future plans for moving away from paper-based documents, to using eData in healthcare only. The representative from Armenia introduced the eHealth development action plan approved by the Ministry of Health, which includes implementation of ePrescription, Telemedicine and tools for analytics and reporting of health data.