RIGA, LATVIA – (HIMSS Insights / Online-only) - The European epSOS project on cross-border communication has officially ended. But its benefits reverberate, and many countries are willing to continue the path.
During Wednesday’s plenary session at eHealth week in Riga, speakers from the Nordic countries outlined how their national eHealth projects took advantage from participating in the European pilot projects on cross-border healthcare communication that took place under the umbrella of the European epSOS project.
Birgitte Drewes, Head of the department of IT development and projects at the Danish National Institute for Health Data and Disease Control, said that Denmark heavily relied on the evaluation principles that came out of projects like epSOS when putting together legally binding IT standard catalogues for the different sectors of the Danish healthcare system.
“This is a very tangible benefit from participating in the European work,” Drewes said. The Danish eHealth projects were now primarily using mature standards with a reasonable amount of users internationally and with good maintenance work, she pointed put.
Finland has also benefitted from taking part in the epSOS pilot projects, according to Viveca Bergman, Development Manager at the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare. Together with Sweden, Finland implemented an electronic prescription pilot project in the Northern border region between the two countries.
A key lesson learned from this project for the Finnish healthcare system was that there is a strong demand for cross-border prescription services: “We were surprised that without much advertising, almost 10,000 Finns gave their consent to having their e-prescription data sent to Sweden. This demonstrates that people are really interested in these kinds of services.” Knowing that, the Finnish government is planning to roll out cross-border services with Sweden on a broader scale in the near future.
Since the epSOS project has officially ended recently, the question is how its achievements including the established communication standards can be transferred to the next level. “The technology is out there now and it can be used,” said Henrique Martins, President of SPMS EPE Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, Portugal.
In order to maintain and further develop cross-border healthcare services in Europe, stakeholders from epSOS and from other EU projects have created the Expanding Health Data Interoperability Services (EXPAND) Thematic Network. It will support European Member States in providing cross-border care and in preparing and adapting their local eHealth plans.
Source: HIMSS Insights (ONLINE ONLY)