First EU citizens using ePrescriptions in other EU country
This week, the first EU patients can use digital prescriptions issued by their home doctor when visiting a pharmacy in another EU country: Finnish patients are now able to go to a pharmacy in Estonia and retrieve medicine prescribed electronically by their doctor in Finland.
The initiative applies to all ePrescriptions prescribed in Finland and to the Estonian pharmacies that have signed the agreement. The novelty of this initiative is that the ePrescriptions are visible electronically to participating pharmacists in the receiving country via the new eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure, without the patient having to provide a written prescription. This is in line with our policy on Digital Health and Care, which aims to empower patients by giving access to their health data and ensuring continuity of care.
Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market, yesterday said: "Congratulations to Finland and Estonia for showing the path in eHealth cooperation between states and I would like other countries to follow soon. People should be able to use their e-prescriptions across borders. Free movement is a founding principle of the EU: we must make it as easy as possible for people to get treatment or medicines when abroad in the EU. The next major step will be to simplify patient access to their very own health data, by developing a common format for exchanging electronic health records between EU countries."
Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, yesterday said: "I very much welcome the first step in the exchange of ePrescriptions between Finland and Estonia. Sharing ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries will be crucial for patient safety as it can help doctors to better understand a foreign patient's medical history and can reduce the risks of incorrect medication and the costs of duplicate tests.The Commission will continue its support to expand these exchanges across the EU."
Mariya Gabriel,Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, yesterday said: "This is a great starting point for better care for citizens, something arguably very important for them. ePrescriptions and International Patient Summaries can save lives in case of emergency situations. The EU Budget financed the technical solutions used for these exchanges, showing once again how important and how close it is to citizen's daily life."
In 2011, the European institutions adopted Directive 2011/24 which ensures continuity of care for European citizens across borders. The directive gives the possibility for Member States to exchange health data in a secure, efficient and interoperable way. The following cross-border health services are now being progressively introduced in all EU Member States:
1) ePrescription and eDispensation allow any EU citizen to retrieve his/her medication in a pharmacy located in another EU Member State, thanks to the electronic transfer of their prescription from his/her country of residence to the country of travel. The country of residence is then informed about the retrieved medicine in the visited country;
2) Patient Summaries provide background information on important health-related aspects such as allergies, current medication, previous illness, surgeries, etc., making it digitally accessible in case of a medical (emergency) visit in another country. It is an abstract of a larger collection of health data called the European Health Record. To make this a reality, the Commission will soon be presenting a Recommendation on the European Electronic Health Record Exchange Format.
Data protection rules are strictly observed and patients will have to provide their consent before these services are accessed.
Both services were made possible thanks to the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure which connects the eHealth national services, allowing them to exchange health data, and which is funded by the European Commission's Connecting Europe Facility.
22 Member States are part of the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure and are expected to exchange ePrescriptions and Patient Summariesby the end of 2021. 10 Member States (Finland, Estonia, Czechia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Belgium) may start these exchanges by the end of 2019.
The eHealth Network (the body of eHealth authorities in the EU) has recently given the green light to Finland and Estonia to start exchanging ePrescriptions and to Czechia and Luxembourg to receive Patient Summaries of foreign citizens.
More information can be found here
- Anca PADURARU (+ 32 2 299 12 69)
- Nathalie VANDYSTADT (+32 2 296 70 83)
- Aikaterini APOSTOLA (+32 2 298 76 24)
- Marietta GRAMMENOU (+32 2 298 35 83)
Latest News from
State aid: EC approves €431m public support for cleaner transport in German cities20/06/2019 13:25:00
The EC has found German plans to support the retrofitting of municipal and commercial diesel vehicles to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure should contribute to reducing nitrogen oxides emissions by 1,450 tonnes per year, while limiting distortions of competition.
EC calls on Member States to step up ambition in plans to implement Paris agreement19/06/2019 16:37:00
The EC has published its assessment of Member States' draft plans to implement the EU's Energy Union objectives, and in particular the agreed EU 2030 energy and climate targets.
EC publishes guidelines to improve how firms report climate-related information19/06/2019 15:25:00
The EC has published new guidelines on corporate climate-related information reporting, as part of its Sustainable Finance Action Plan. These guidelines will provide companies with practical recommendations on how to better report the impact that their activities are having on the climate as well as the impact of climate change on their business.
Climate change puts pressure on Europe’s energy system19/06/2019 13:25:00
All parts of Europe’s energy system, from availability of energy sources to energy consumption, are potentially vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events, according to a European Environment Agency report.
Council adopts directive for an EU emergency travel document19/06/2019 12:25:00
The EU is facilitating consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the EU in third countries by simplifying the issuing of safe & widely accepted emergency travel documents.
Biosecurity and transboundary animal diseases: Council conclusions19/06/2019 10:37:00
A high level of biosecurity is essential for the protection of EU territory against the introduction and spread of animal diseases, many of which may have devastating consequences not only for the agriculture sector but society as a whole.
Security and defence: Council adopts conclusions18/06/2019 15:25:00
EU foreign and defence ministers yesterday discussed the EU Global Strategy. Following the discussion, the Council adopted conclusions on security and defence in the context of the EU Global Strategy.
EC increases support for the EU's beekeeping sector18/06/2019 14:33:00
The EC will provide €120m to the EU's beekeeping sector over the next 3 years to support its essential role in agriculture & the environment.
Safe drinking water and sanitation: Council approves EU guidelines18/06/2019 12:25:00
2.1bn people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.5bn people lack safely managed sanitation services in the world. Climate change will increasingly affect water availability & access. Across the globe, tensions and conflicts related to access to and use of water continue to rise as the threat of water scarcity spreads.
Chronic hepatitis B infections on the rise since 200818/06/2019 10:38:00
In 2017, the majority (58%) of the almost 27,000 newly reported hepatitis B cases in the EU and European Economic Area were classified as chronic infections. This follows a consistent upward trend in reported chronic hepatitis B cases since 2008.