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.


Friday, May 02, 2014

IHE Symposium for the Practical Interoperability in Action

The IHE Symposium will take place in Athens (Megaron Athens International Conference Centre) on 12 May 2014 (09:00-13:00). 

It will be held as parallel event of the eHealth Forum 2014. Organised by the Greek Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission, the eHealth Forum 2014 brings together a High-Level eHealth Experts’ Conference on European Priorities, the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) – incorporating events and an exhibition, a meeting of the eHealth Network, the 4th EU-US eHealth Marketplace & Cooperation Assembly, and much more. 

The event will provide a unique forum for the exchange of experience, good practices innovation and mutual support.   

The IHE Symposium will focus on "Practical Interoperability in Action". 

It is split into three main topics: 

1. eHealth Interoperability Framework in Europe: IHE Overview and Status in Europe 
2. IHE & Interoperability Implementation in Europe 
3. IHE Services   

For more detailed information, please take a look at the symposium's programme.   

In addition to the symposium, IHE-Europe will also be represented with a booth in the Interoperability Pavilion in the exhibition. IHE-Europe representatives will be available for providing detailed information about IHE and interoperability. 

- See more at:


Antilope Summit in Athens drives eHealth interoperability in Europe and beyond

ANTILOPE drives eHealth interoperability in Europe and beyond. Between 2013 and 2015 key national and international organisations will work together to select and define eHealth standards and specifications. They will create, validate and disseminate a common approach for testing and certification of eHealth solutions and services in Europe.

The Antilope Summit will be held in Athens, Greece and will provide you and other decision makers a unique opportunity to learn about and understand why such tools and associated policies are required and how they will support interoperability in your country and across Europe. The European Commission launched the Thematic Network project Antilope in 2013 in order to promote the use of standards and profiles for eHealth interoperability and foster their adoptions across the European Union.

Antilope supports the goal of the EU eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020 to propose an EU interoperability testing, quality labelling and certification framework for eHealth systems by 2015.

Who should attend: Persons interested in setting up Interoperability testing. Persons and organizations responsible for selecting, decision making and implementing eHealth standards. Persons from government and industry.

What do you get from the summit: Overview, testing methods, testing tools. Role of interoperability testing and certification in Europe Good ideas for establishing interoperability testing Networking The Antilope SE Europe summit is arranged by HL7 Hellas and is organized in cooperation with other events connected to the eHealth Forum 2014.

Event will take place at Megaron Athens International Conference Centre, Athens Greece.

For more info, please look HERE.


Public consultation on the Green Paper on mobile Health

The Commission is launching a public consultation on the Green Paper on mobile health, inviting comments on the barriers and issues related to the use of mHealth. Your input will help identify the right way forward to unlock the potential of mobile health in the EU. The Commission also publishes a Staff Working Document on the existing EU legal framework applicable to lifestyle and wellbeing apps, aiming at providing simple guidance to app developers on EU legislation in the field.
The objective of this consultation is to receive the views of:
mHealth infographic showing the benefits of mHealth applications
  • regional and national authorities e.g. health ministries, authorities dealing with medical devices/data protection
  • health professionals, carers, health practitioners, medical associations
  • consumers, users of mHealth apps, patients and their associations
  • web entrepreneurs
  • app developers and app stores
  • manufacturers of mobile devices
  • insurance agencies
  • sports centres, health clubs, etc.
This is not an exhaustive list – we welcome replies from all interested parties.
Period of consultation: 10 April 2014 - 3 July 2014
Comments received after the closing date will not be considered. Please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. If responding on behalf of an organisation, please explain who the organisation represents and, where applicable, how the views of members were assembled.

How to respond

It is essential that you read the Green Paper on mHealth and the Staff Working Document before responding to the questionnaire.
  • Respond online
  • Email your answers
    Attach your reply as Word, PDF or ODF document.
  • Write to:
    European Commission
    DG Communications Networks, Content & Technology
    Avenue de Beaulieu/Beaulieulaan 31
    Unit H1, Health & Well-being
    Brussels 1049 - Belgium

Digital Agenda for Europe