Friday, December 19, 2014

National laws on Electronic Health Records and cross-border eHealth services in EU Member States

Electronic Health Records are part of an interoperable infrastructure that allows different healthcare providers to access and update health data in order to ensure the continuity of care of the patient.

Yet there are, according to the authors of the study, major disparities between countries on the deployment of EHRs. The same can be said about the approach taken to regulate EHRs - some countries have set specific rules for EHRs, others rely on general health records and data protection legislation.

Content of EHRs 

While some countries have set detailed requirements as to the content of EHRs, others do not specify what this content should be. The level of details of the legislation on EHR content varies greatly from a simple reference to health data in general to exhaustive and detailed list of categories or data item. 

According to stakeholders interviewed, EHR systems in the countries covered in this study are using in practice very different terminology and coding systems, and they consider this semantic diversity as one of the main barriers to the cross-border transfer of health data.


Considering the very sensitive nature of health data and the vulnerability and easy dissemination of information on electronic format, special attention should be paid to the security of data from EHRs. The study shows, however, that half of the countries covered have not set specific rules for institutions hosting and managing EHRs, relying instead on the general rules setting security requirements for all types of data controllers.

Concluding, the study still sees a lot of work ahead on both EU and national level, involving the eHealth Network as a key actor.