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. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Executive Summary of the 2014 European Conference on Rare Diseases

A record 768 attendees from 43 countries took part and over 200 posters were presented at this year'sEuropean Conference on Rare Diseases & Orphan Products (ECRD), the biggest yet since the first took place in 2001.
The 7th ECRD, co-organised by EURORDIS and DIA(the Drug Information Association), took place in May of this year in Berlin. Download the newly available ECRD Executive Summary to view the full conference programme, a breakdown of attendees, a list of posters and summaries of the themes and sessions.
You can also view a special ECRD supplement of speaker and poster presentations featured in the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases.
The event, which takes place every two years, is a unique platform across all rare diseases and European countries, bringing together patient representatives, academics, healthcare professionals, industry, payers, regulators and policymakers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5th International Conference on Digital Health

ACM DL 2015 will in particular focus on public health computer science covering a wide spectrum of subjects including communities of practice and social networks, analytics and engagement with tracking and monitoring wearable devices, big data, public health surveillance, persuasive technologies, epidemic intelligence, participatory surveillance, serious games for public health interventions and automated early identification of health threats and response.

5th DIGITAL HEALTH: 5th International Conference on Digital Health 

18th - 20th May 2015, Florence, Italy held in conjunction with WWW 2015

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Antilope Handover Workshop/Conference

The Antilope network will come to an end in January 2015.

To cap two years of hard work, the project will convene key stakeholders, decision makers and eHealth experts for its final event, a “handover workshop”, on 29 January 2015 in Ghent, Belgium.  We invite interested parties to join us to hear about Antilope’s key outcomes; learn how countries, projects and leading experts adapt Antilope’s approach to standards and interoperability; and get to know various EU projects and initiatives that will carry Antilope’s work forward (hence the “handover”).

The Antilope handover workshop will review project results and deliverables, assess the impact of Antilope recommendations from at least four Member States, and discuss in a roundtable with new EU-funded initiatives how the Antilope results will be used, refined, and further disseminated to advance eHealth interoperability. To ensure that this handover will benefit from input from many stakeholders, Antilope invites:
  • Antilope consortium members
  • European initiatives and projects promoting eHealth interoperability
  • eHealth experts, policymakers, procurers, academics, industry
  • and other interested parties
Participants will get the opportunity to interact face to face with EU officials, policymakers and eHealth experts, and to learn first-hand about the European eHealth interoperability agenda.

The event takes place on Thursday, 29 January 2015, 09.00-17.00, in the Ghent University Hospital Auditorium in Ghent, Belgium.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Health Professionals, it is time to upgrade your (e)Skills!

The European Commission and the Member States should take steps to ensure that eHealth is part of the curricula of healthcare professionals, notably making use of the new possibilities provided by the updated Directive 2005/36 on regulated professions.

This is one of the key recommendations made by the eHealth Stakeholder Group, a European Commission advisory body, in its report on eSkills workforce.
According to the group, the healthcare workforce is crucial in the wider deployment of eHealth. First, they are the primary users of eHealth. Plus, they also accompany patients in using appropriately these technologies, providing reassurance. Supporting digital skills of the health workforce is all the more needed in the view of the constant changing nature of healthcare systems and healthcare delivery.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Patients suffering from medicines shortages in all European countries

A new report on medicines shortages experienced in European healthcare systems reveals that over 86% of hospital pharmacists are experiencing difficulties in sourcing medicines with 66% reporting this as a daily or weekly problem. The top affected areas are medicines to fight infection, cancer drugs and anaesthetics.

The report by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), surveyed the experiences of over 600 hospital pharmacists in 36 European countries, and presents a striking picture of how medicines shortages are affecting the treatment of patients across the continent.

75% of surveyed hospital pharmacists either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "medicines shortages in my hospital are having a negative impact on patient care". Consequences for patients included delayed or interrupted chemotherapy treatment, unnecessary experience by patients of side effects, heightened clostridium difficile risk and deterioration in patients' conditions.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IHE International News - Connectathons, Education and More

IHE Europe Connectathon 
Luxembourg will host the fifteenth annual IHE-E Connectathon April 20-24, 2015. Last year's event saw over 70 companies test over 100 systems. Companies large and small are invited to test systems this year in all categories of health IT to ensure their interoperability with those of their peers. Registration opens Dec. 1, 2014. Find more information here.

IHE USA Partners with HIMSS and IWG to Simplify Health Data Exchange
IHE USA has announced a strategic partnership with the Interoperability Workgroup (IWG) and HIMSS to streamline connectivity between EHR systems and health information exchanges (HIEs) by providing detailed specifications and testing processes to ensure connectivity. The group will announce the opening of a new testing and certification program at the IHE North American Connectathon Conference 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio Learn more here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Booklet on second EU Health Programme's projects

The booklet collects the posters presented at Gastein and EUPHA conferences presenting the projects and joint actions funded under the second EU Health Programme.

This publication puts together 31 projects which were funded under the 2nd Health Programme of the European Commission and are presented to the public in a scientific poster exhibition at the European Health Forum Gastein 2014 and the 7th Annual European Public Health Conference 2014.

Public health Newsletter

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Digital Action Day 2014 live via webstreaming

The event takes place in Brussels, Belgium on 29 September 2014. It will focus on how digital technologies are changing traditional EU industries and policy areas.

The Digital Action Day is fully booked. Follow the event live via webstreaming (only available on 29 September) and #DAD14EU.

Plenary sessions and parallel work sessions will focus on the transformative and disruptive power of digital. Lessons learned and actions for policy makers and businesses will be debated during the event to develop and create growth and jobs.

Check the Programme and the list of registered participants. See also the Programme at a glance.

The Digital Action Day is an invitation-only event. Prior registration is required for access to the venue. The event may be filmed, web-streamed, recorded and posted on the internet. Photographs will also be taken and published. If you have any questions, please send an email.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

European Health Award 2014: Six projects shortlisted

Six cross-border health projects have now been short-listed for the prestigious European Health Award 2014. They cover topics such as management of psychotic disorders, TB, perinatal health, pharmacovigilance, threat preparedness and Sudden Cardiac Death Syndrome. The prize-winner will be chosen by a panel of leading health experts, and the award presented at the European Health Forum Gastein in early October.

Bad Hofgastein, 27 August 2014 – Six cutting-edge projects are in the running for the prestigious €10,000 European Health Award 2014, sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health and FOPI, which brings together Austria's research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The winner will be chosen by a panel of leading health experts, and announced during the 17th EHFG Conference, being held in the Gastein Valley from the 1st to 3rd October.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From Brussels to Beijing: EAHP China tour grows important relationship

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has recently completed a tour of China to promote practice developments in European hospital pharmacy and develop its relations with organisations in China.
EAHP President Dr Roberto Frontini, Professor Anthony Sinclair of the EAHP Scientific Committee, and Professor Phil Wiffen, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (EJHP) spent 6 days in July visiting hospitals across China, including Beijing and Shanghai.

As well as sharing experiences in practice development from Europe, the EAHP trio also had an opportunity to learn from China’s experience in meeting the needs of patient care and patient safety in the hospital environment.
More information here


Thursday, July 24, 2014

HPE goes LIVE on 9th September 2014

There's just over 6 weeks to go before HPE LIVE takes place, so don't miss the chance to join your colleagues at the free, CPD accredited conference specifically designed for the pharmacy community.

HPE LIVE features over 40 leading figures in European pharmacy, who will present the latest technologies and therapies and will share their knowledge and experience to help you to develop and enhance your department.

Confirmed speakers include:

Keynote Speaker: Professor Mark Ratain
Leon O Jacobson Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Personalized Therapeutics, Associate Director for Clinical Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Chicago

Ms Aisling Considine
Clinical Pharmacy Team Leader in Liver Services, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

Session: Understanding and managing hepatitis C

Professor Arnold VultoProfessor of Hospital Pharmacy and Practical Therapeutics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Session: Introducing biosimilars into the hospital setting

Dr. Nuttan TannaPharmacist Consultant, Womens Health & Older People Women's Services & Arthritis Centre, NW London Hospitals NHS Trust

Session: Effective management of osteoporosis

Professor Pascal Bonnabry
Head of Pharmacy, Geneva University Hospitals. Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universities of Geneva & Lausanne, Switzerland

Session: Evaluating the risk of aseptic preparations

Don't leave it to the last minute: secure your free place today by simply clicking here to register online or call 44 (0) 207 214 0693.


HPE Live

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cross-border health project epSOS: What has it achieved?

In June 2014 the large-scale epSOS pilot, providing smart cross-border health services, came to an end. The epSOS team has written a letter to highlight the achievements of the project, outline initiatives taking the results forward, inform about where project outputs can be accessed after the project, and last but not least thank everyone involved.

epSOS, meaning "Smart Open Services for European Patients", was a European large-scale pilot testing the cross-border sharing of certain health data: a summary of a patient's most important health data in case of unplanned care (the patient summary) and the electronic prescription (ePrescription).

25 Countries

This initiative broke new ground and generated a lot of interest in Europe: "When the project was initiated in 2008 it involved a few stakeholders, but it gradually grew to encompass 25 countries and about 50 beneficiaries", project coordinator Fredrik Lindén (Sweden) and his team write in their letter.
"The epSOS project achieved considerable results in a range of areas. Main technical deliverables include development of a solid basis for the eprescription and patient summary services, considering: governance, use cases, data content, semantics, specifications, architecture, testing mechanisms, etc."

Concrete practice 

"Importantly", the experts continue, "epSOS has taken these results into concrete practice: 16 pilots of epSOS services achieved live operations during the project. Although there were fewer cases of real patients using the services than originally envisioned, the pilot operations constituted substantial progress."

National and European level

According to professor Lindén and his team, there is a strong momentum for eHealth interoperability in Europe. "European eHealth interoperability is currently supported by the Directive (2011/24/EU) on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. […] Nevertheless, implementation of cross-border eHealth services is to a significant extent a national prerogative."
But exciting things are taking place on European level: The eHealth Network (eHealth representatives of the Member States) has established a subgroup of Member States dedicated to the continuation of the epSOS services.
Also, the EU-funded EXPAND project aims to secure the epSOS pilot services in anticipation of a handover to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). And the OpenNCP community has prepared a roadmap for possible future development and intends to remain active, provided continued support from in particular national stakeholders.

The value of epSOS 

Recognizing the epSOS results will be relevant for future initiatives. "The value of epSOS and all our work is confirmed by the continued commitment of stakeholders at national and European levels. The results are taken forward by various endeavours. These will be all the more effective and rapid the more support you can give, also when we enter this new phase", the epSOS team concludes.


The epSOS project ran for six years (2008-2014) and set out to develop, pilot and evaluate cross-border eHealth services, and to formulate recommendations for future work. The focus has been safe, secure and high-quality services for exchange of patient summary data and ePrescriptions between European countries.
epSOS was partially funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), as part of the Competitiveness and Framework Programme by the European Commission (Project budget: 38.111.769 €, EU-Contribution: 17.999.000 €). The website will remain accessible until end 2017. The website contains a wealth of information about epSOS, including national contacts, deliverables describing project results, information about the design process, etc.

Read the full letter.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

EAHP: Apps involving medicines should have pharmacist oversight


The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has responded to a consultation by the European Commission advising that any mHealth applications linked to the use of medicines must have levels of regulatory oversight, ideally involving pharmacist expertise, in order to ensure their safety. 

The European Commission launched a consultation on mHealth in April 2014, asking healthcare professionals and patients for input on the health related applications of smartphone technology. One of EAHP’s key points was that the introduction of new technologies in the hospital setting has been an ever-present reality. Lessons learned include the need to understand the potential positive applications of a new technology at an early stage, and for Governments and health system managers to take a leadership role in achieving their realisation. This lesson, for example, is evident in the difficulties experienced in achieving bedside scanning as a patient safety measure within hospital systems - as medicines still do not typically contain a bar code to the single unit. 

Another key point of EAHP’s response was to underline safety needs when applying mHealth to any process involving medicines. 

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, said: 

The implications of a badly designed mHealth application related to medicines use is frightening. All medicines can potentially cause harm if not taken properly. Therefore, when it comes to mHealth apps and medicines, a level of regulatory oversight is required. We recommend pharmacists be involved in both development and testing of such applications. Indeed, the need for such pharmacist involvement in ICT processes involving medicines was a strong component of the recently published European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy, agreed with patient organisations and other healthcare professionals. 
Beyond this, we urge the European Commission to learn lessons of experience. Technology can offer so much. However, without both vision to see potential positive applications, and subsequent coordination, too often the benefits are not realised. We see this, for example, with our ongoing campaign to achieve bedside scanning of medicines in hospitals. Barriers and obstacles have to be identified and lifted. There is an important coordinating role for the Commission in this regard.
Finally, we urge the Commission not to think about mHealth as only having cost-saving benefits. Improved patient safety and patient outcomes must be considered as just as important, if not more so.” 

The consultation remains open until the end of Friday 10th July. The response of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists is available here

For further information contact 00 322 741 6835 

1. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) is an association of national organisations across 34 countries representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here
2. More details about the European Commission’s consultation are available here. The response of EAHP is available here
3. More details about bedside scanning of medicines in hospitals, its patient safety benefits, and the need to achieve bar coding of medicines to the single unit to realise wider take-up, are available here
4. Statement 1.7 of the European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy states: “Hospital pharmacists must be involved in the design, specification of parameters and evaluation of ICT within the medicine processes. This will ensure that pharmacy services are integrated within the general Information and Communication Technology (ICT) framework of the hospital including electronic health (eHealth) and mobile health (mHealth) procedures.” 
5. Requests for interviews with Dr Roberto Frontini and national spokespersons for EAHP country member associations on the topic of mHealth (or other subjects) can be made by contacting


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Buying medicines online? Commission introduces logo to make sure consumers are safe

With Europeans increasingly buying medicines online, how can we be sure that an online pharmacy is authentic and safe?

Today, the Commission adopts an implementing Regulation under the Falsified Medicinal Products Directive (2011/62/EU) which sets out the design for a common logo for online pharmacies, and the technical requirements for ensuring its authenticity.

The logo will fully be available in second half of 2015.

Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health, said: "When buying medicines online, consumers must be aware that unless they buy from legally-operating online medicine suppliers, they run the risk of buying medicines that are falsified. Falsified medicines can be ineffective, harmful or even deadly. The Commission has established a common logo for online pharmacies so consumers can stay safe."

This is the logo to look out for on the homepage of an online pharmacy. The rectangle on the middle left side will have the flag of the EU country where the online pharmacy is established, and the text will be translated into the official language/s of that country.

How does it work?

First, look for the logo on the website through which you are considering buying medicines and click on it. You should be taken to the national regulatory authority website, which lists all legally operating online pharmacies and other legally authorised retailers of medicines. Check that the pharmacy is listed. Then continue with your purchase. If not listed, do not buy from that website. Use one of the legitimate medicine retailers listed on your national regulatory authority’s website. 

When will it start to appear? 

The Regulation should enter into force in the next four to six weeks. Member States have one year to prepare for its application. The European Commission is providing national authorities with a Communication Toolkit to support them with the preparation of national awareness campaigns which are required by the Falsified Medicines Directive.

The toolkit and more information on falsified medicines is available here:


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Joan Peppard elected as next EAHP President

Joan Peppard has been elected as the next President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), commencing a 3 year term of office from June 2015. She will now serve one year as President Elect during the final 12 months of Dr Roberto Frontini’s Presidency of the Association.

The election took place at the General Assembly of the EAHP in Sofia. The General Assembly is the annual occasion at which the 34 member countries of EAHP meet in person to determine policy, elect the Board, scrutinise the activities of the Association and conduct other decision making activity.

Joan, a chief pharmacist in a hospital in the Irish midlands, currently serves on the EAHP Board as Director of Professional Development and has twice been the head of the Hospital Pharmacists Association of Ireland in the position of President. Prior to joining the EAHP Board Joan was for many years one of the lead delegates for Ireland within the EAHP annual General Assembly, and played an active role in the conduct of EAHP educational and research activities at the national level.

Speaking after her election, Joan Peppard, President-Elect of EAHP said: “It is with a sense of great humility that I begin to take on the primary leadership role of the EAHP, knowing that under the stewardship of predecessors a real momentum of energy and experience has been established to make EAHP the driver for hospital pharmacy practice improvement across Europe that it is today. With the new European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy recently agreed between the profession, patients and other healthcare professionals, the number one challenge for the forthcoming EAHP Board is evident – how to turn that clear vision for the future of the profession into a reality in every European country. Working with my colleagues on the Board, the secretariat and our dedicated membership, I know we have the commitment, insight and enthusiasm to achieve it. I again thank members for the confidence they have placed in me and look forward to working with them in delivering our shared aspirations for the profession we all love.

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of EAHP added: “Knowing very well Joan’s professional background, and her proven ability to make change happen on the ground, even in the most difficult practice environments, I am completely assured EAHP will continue to go from strength to strength in the achievement of its mission under her leadership. I’m therefore looking forward to assisting in the handover period, and introducing her personally to the many partner, friend and allied organisations we work with in ensuring the continuous improvement of all that the hospital pharmacist does across our member countries."



Monday, June 16, 2014

Final Opinion on Nanosilver: safety, health and environmental effects and role in antimicrobial resistance

Today, the European Commission and its non-food Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, SCENIHR, published the final opinion on "Nanosilver: safety, health and environmental effects and role in antimicrobial resistance".

The aim of this opinion is to assess whether the use of nanosilver, in particular in medical care and in consumer products, could result in additional risks compared to more traditional uses of silver and whether the use of nanosilver to control bacterial growth could result in resistance of micro-organisms.

SCENIHR concludes that the widespread (and increasing) use of silver containing products implicates that both consumers and the environment are exposed to new sources of silver. Human exposure is direct (food, hand-to-mouth contact, skin) and may be life long; while in the environment silver nanoparticles may be a particularly effective delivery system for silver to organisms in soil, water and sediment and may act as sources of ionic silver over extended periods of time. Therefore, additional effects caused by widespread and long term use of silver nanoparticles cannot be ruled out.

Regarding the hazard associated with the dissemination of the resistance mechanism following the use of silver nanoparticles, more data are needed to better understand bacterial response to ionic silver and silver nanoparticles exposure.

To read the Opinion in full 
For more information on the Commission’s independent scientific committees

Content of the opinion In 2012, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, SCENIHR, was asked to formulate an Opinion on Nanosilver: safety, health and environmental effects and role in antimicrobial resistance. This was mainly due to the concern with regard to health risks associated with the use of nanosilver.

The aim of this opinion is to assess whether the use of nanosilver, in particular in medical care and in consumer products, could result in additional risks compared to more traditional uses of silver and whether the use of nanosilver to control bacterial growth could result in resistance of micro-organisms.

SCENIHR concluded that the widespread (and increasing) use of silver containing products implicates that both consumers and the environment are exposed to new sources of silver. Human exposure is direct (food, hand-to-mouth contact, skin) and may be life long; while in the environment silver nanoparticles may be a particularly effective delivery system for silver to organisms in soil, water and sediment and may act as sources of ionic silver over extended periods of time. Therefore, additional effects caused by widespread and long term use of silver nanoparticles cannot be ruled out.

Regarding the hazard associated with the dissemination of the resistance mechanism following the use of silver nanoparticles, no studies are available at this moment, representing a serious gap of knowledge. Since other nanoparticles have been shown to substantially increase the horizontal gene transfer between bacteria – which is extremely relevant for developing resistance – the potential of silver nanoparticles to induce similar effects should be given particular attention. More data are needed to better understand bacterial response to ionic silver and silver nanoparticles exposure. Since the mechanisms resulting in silver nanoparticles resistance are not well understood, it is not possible to estimate at this time whether or not resistance of microorganisms will increase and spread in view of a more widespread use of silver nanoparticles in products.


European Commission

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ePrescription and personal eHealth navigator for all Europeans

"Give health an e-Chance": Under this slogan the eHealth Forum 2014 took place in Athens on May 12-14. Amongst the nearly 1300 visitors were Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis and two European Commissioners: Tonio Borg (Health & Consumers) and Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) who suggested we could all use a "personal eHealth navigator" and electronic prescriptions.

Commissioner and Vice-President Neelie Kroes said at the opening of the conference: "Imagine if there were new tools that could fix the well-known problems faced by health systems. We'd be crazy to turn our backs on them. We'd be crazy not to do everything we could to promote them, invest in them, learn about them. Well – we now do have those tools."
Health costs fell by 30% in Greece
She gave some examples: "In Italy, eHealth tools have saved one euro in every 9 spent on healthcare. In Estonia citizens can go online to review their own records, consent to procedures, check up on prescriptions. Used by almost half of citizens, 80% of prescriptions, 95% of doctors, and 100% safely and securely. Here in Greece, average costs fell by 30% since ePrescriptions were introduced - an innovation which also fights fraud and cuts over-prescribing."
Mrs Kroes announced: "I want to put health in the hands of the European citizens". She proposed giving everyone a "Personal Health Navigator" to help people find their nearest doctor, pharmacy or hospital and to give them access to their personal health data and trustworthy health information.
"Our shared ambition should be that we ensure every European citizen to be digital, connected and healthy. And that Europe will take this opportunity and gain the lead in this growing and highly innovative market", Mrs Kroes concluded her speech.
ePrescriptions everywhere in Europe?
Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis emphasized  that Greece has showcased best practices in the area of electronic prescribing. He noted, "if there were no ePrescriptions, the health system in our country would have collapsed", adding that eHealth is not a luxury but a necessity.
In this context, both Georgiadis and Health Commissioner Tonio Borg stressed the need to incorporate ePrescriptions into the national strategies of all EU countries.
Commissioner Borg noted in his speech that this would be discussed the following day by the high-level eHealth Network, a group of representatives of all EU Member States: "Tomorrow, the Network will discuss new guidelines for ePrescriptions. [...] These guidelines seek to facilitate the interoperability of electronic prescriptions across borders, so that electronic prescriptions can be processed easily in any European Union country; so that patients can always get the medicines they need."
At the Forum, the eHealth Network discussed a first draft of EU ePrescription guidelines, of which the adoption is expected in November 2014.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

European Patients' Rights Day: 10 benefits the EU brings to patients

A high level of health protection; the right to benefit from medical treatment; access to healthcare - preventive, diagnostic and curative treatment regardless of financial means, gender or nationality. These principles are enshrined in the European Union's Treaty1 and its Charter of Fundamental Rights2 and the EU institutions are bound to them in their actions. On European Patients' Rights Day, let's take a look at some of the benefits of being a patient in the European Union. As an EU citizen, you can expect:
1) To receive healthcare when visiting another EU country
If you fall ill unexpectedly during a trip to another EU country and need to visit a doctor, there's no need to cut short your visit to return home for treatment. Take your European Health Insurance Card with you to a local doctor.
2) To be reimbursed for healthcare sought in another EU country
Should you decide to receive medical treatment in other EU country you can be reimbursed for it at home, under certain circumstances, and normally up to the amount you would be reimbursed in your home country for the same treatment. In some cases, your home country may require you to seek prior authorisation before travelling for treatment.
3) To receive information on safety and quality standards in EU countries
A national contact point in each Member State shall provide information to patients on their rights to healthcare across Europe. Access to information on the quality and safety of care will allow you to make informed decisions.
These contact points can also provide information on the European Reference Networks where you can receive highly specialised healthcare in the case of complex, low prevalence or rare conditions.
4) To be treated by qualified healthcare professionals
Patients have the guarantee that whether receiving medical care in their home country or another EU country, they will be treated by healthcare professionals – be they doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives or pharmacists, who have met EU-wide minimum requirements.
Patients will, upon request, receive information from their national contact point about a healthcare provider's right to practice.
5) To get a copy of your medical records
When you are treated, your healthcare provider must make a medical record of the treatment provided. As a patient you have the right to a copy of this medical record in order to secure continuity of care and be treated by a doctor of your choice, also if you continue treatment in another Member State.
6) To have your prescription recognised in all EU Countries
The Commission has set rules on mutual recognition of prescriptions between Member States and on a minimum list of elements to be included in a cross border medical prescription.
As a patient, when travelling to another EU country it is reassuring to know that your prescription can be recognised at your destination. To avoid delays, interruptions in treatment and extra costs, ask your health professional for a cross border prescription before you leave.
7) To be treated with safe and effective medicines
Medicines must be authorised by the Member States or the European Commission before they can be placed on the EU market. This ensures patients are treated with medicines that are in compliance with strict standards on quality, safety and efficacy.
Once a medicinal product has been authorised in the Union and placed on the market, its safety is monitored during its entire lifespan to ensure that, in case of adverse reactions, appropriate action is taken swiftly, including additional warnings, restrictions of use or even withdrawal of the product.
8) To be able to report suspected side effects of medicines
As a patient, you have the right to report any adverse reactions to medicines you are taking directly to your national authorities. You can also do so through your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Medicines for which additional monitoring is considered necessary have a black inverted triangle in the package leaflet, along with information on how to report suspected adverse events through the national reporting system.
9) To be treated with safe medical devices
EU rules on medical devices, varying from simple bandages to the most sophisticated life-support machines, aim to ensure a high level of patient safety and rapid access to innovative technologies.
10) To benefit from common high standards of quality for blood, organs, tissues and cells
To guarantee quality and patient safety, the EU has developed common rules that apply across the EU to ensure that all donated human material is safe and carefully screened to prevent transmission of disease, for example HIV or hepatitis.
In addition, the EU funds projects and actions that support national authorities in training their inspectors, improving their vigilance systems as well as the organisation of and access to national transfusion and transplantation services.
For more information:
Website of Commissioner Borg:

European Patients' Rights Day: 10 benefits the EU brings to patients

European Commission - MEMO/14/341   12/05/2014


Friday, May 16, 2014

New European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy agreed by patients, healthcare professionals and hospital pharmacists

A robust set of hospital pharmacy practice standards for Europe has been agreed at an international Summit in Brussels. These standards should be met across European health systems to ensure safe, effective and optimal use of medicines in collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams. 

The standards were agreed at European Hospital Pharmacy Summit which concluded on Thursday 15th May, and was attended by more than 100 persons. 

The statements were subject to open Delphi consultation with national hospital pharmacy associations, European patient groups, doctors and nursing organisations. The same organisations then gave their final joint approval to each statement individually by a weighted voting method at the Summit event. 

Results of Summit votes HERE

A full summary of the Summit proceedings and the formation of the statements will be made available in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy. EAHP and its national member associations now look forward to working with national health systems to bring about the full achievement of the European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy in every European country

The European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy are available HERE.



Thursday, May 08, 2014

Hospital Pharmacy Europe (HPE) goes LIVE on 9th September 2014

Following the successes of HPE LIVE's inaugural event in 2013, which saw over 500 members of the hospital pharmacy community come together for a busy day of learning, we are pleased to announce that HPE LIVE will return to the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel on 9 September 2014. HPE LIVE 2014 will address the latest developments affecting pharmacy departments in hospitals across the European Union.

HPE LIVE is a free, one-day conference that features the very best speakers providing practical advice on the latest advances in Therapeutics and Technology in separate seminar streams.

Seminar discussions at HPE LIVE this year include:
  • Introducting biosimilars into the hospital setting
  • Optimising input to medicines reconciliation
  • E-prescribing and robotic dispensing
  • Do electronic reminders improve adherence?
  • Smart pumps and drug libraries 

These sessions are presented by authorities in hospital pharmacy, who are keen to share their knowledge and first-hand experience with the wider community. 

Of course, HPE LIVE also presents an excellent opportunity outside of the hospital environment to network with your peers, forge new relationships, discuss common challenges and share best practice.

Thanks to the support of our sponsors, delegate places for HPE LIVE 2014 are free for all hospital pharmacy professionals.

To register your free place, simply fill in the online registration form or for any further enquiries, please call 44 (0) 207 214 0693


Saturday, May 03, 2014

eHealth as an enabler of change

Like its counter parts in Europe, Greece is facing the challenge of making eHealth an enabler for change, for better health and for a more efficient health and social care system.

eHealth is the 8th pillar of the NHS Reform Programme “Health in Action”. A team of experts has been assisting the Ministry with the task of drafting the eHealth Strategy including proposals for an appropriate eHealth Governance structure.

Dr Christina Papanikolaou, General Secretary of Public Health, Hellenic Ministry of Health, emailed an invitation for the Consultation Meeting on the National eHealth Strategy 2020 for Greece, with the title: “eHEALTH AS AN ENABLER OF CHANGE”, which will take place on Monday 12th May, 2014 within the framework of eHealth Forum 2014, at THE MEGARON ATHENS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, HERMES HALL, Banqueting Level, between10:30 & 13:00 hours.