The European Commission has published the Potorož Declaration, a list of objectives to achieve before the next EC e-health conference.

The Declaration lists five goals for EC member states to achieve over the next 12 months, as part of the work it has published in its e-health roadmaps. These have been agreed by the member states, and are split into three areas.

Formed at the e-health conference in Slovenia, earlier this month, the top priority is for these e-health roadmaps to be built on, and communicated to the public.

The declaration says: “Commitment is needed to ensure that roadmaps are updated and distributed regularly, to maintain a solid foundation for building future activities. Information should also be disseminated by the member states regarding the kinds of electronic tools that can support them in addressing the many concrete challenges posed by healthcare systems.”

They also call for Europe-wide co-operation on e-health projects to continue to evolve over the next three years. Key to this will be the combining of standardisation and safety in e-health.

The Commission plans to issue a recommendation on cross-border interoperability of electronic health record systems, laying out clear guidelines for enabling patients to access electronic health records anywhere any time.

The declaration says of this: “There is a need to emphasise the improvement to patient safety that ICT can facilitate, especially as a result of the enhanced interoperability of systems. Combining standardisation and safety in e-health must now be seen as a priority issue by all stakeholders. It is fundamental to define a common understanding through semantics in healthcare.”

A call is also made for more supplier and patient input into e-health plans across Europe.

“Participation of industry in the planned large-scale pilot on cross-border use of patient summaries and medication data is particularly welcome. The paradigm shift towards clear support for e-health can be achieved only by involving the key industrial and user stakeholders in developing e-health solutions from the earliest stage,” the declaration concludes.

More needs to be done to ensure the e-health market continues to be innovative, it adds. This can only be achieved through “support for further pilot actions under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and a coordinated action that will relate to possible developments in the legal framework, standardisation, certification and procurement activities.”

In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission lays out three endeavours, which should help to ensure the goals of the declaration are met in time for the next e-health conference.

The first area is the need to plan to deploy telemedicine and innovative ICT tools for chronic disease management. Second is the need to introduce an enhanced focus on new research opportunities, and third, is the need for a transparent legal framework agreed between the member states.

In order to meet these three goals, the EC put together a pledge, which reads: “The member states and the European Commission commit to support together the deployment of high-capacity infrastructure and infostructure for health and social care information networks and services such as telemedicine, ePrescription and eReferral.

“With continued commitment from all the actors involved, European-wide cooperation on electronic health services will lead to the successful formation of a European health information area. As a result, the health of European citizens and the sustainability of European health care systems will benefit considerably.”

The Commission also aims to issue a notice on these topics later this year in order to enable member states to identify and address possible barriers for wider deployment, and to coordinate their efforts.


Potorož Declaration