Today, citizens and patients moving across Europe have very limited access and control on their own health data. While digitisation in members states is rapidly progressing, patient health data – also in digital form – is spread out with various health providers and locked in different silos.
There are legal and technological constrains, but also semantic barriers, such as the different languages and terminologies adopted by different countries. As a consequence, citizens cannot easily make sure that their complete health data is available to different physicians as necessary for safe and efficient treatment, possibly in different countries, and cannot access themselves their full clinical history.
InteropEHRate starts here and aims to support people’s health by opening them up new ways to make health data available where needed. To make this possible, key health data is managed in “patients’ hands”, i.e. through Smart EHRs (S-EHR) on mobile devices. Data is always transferred via highly secure channels including a direct device to device (D2D) communication. Patients are in full control of their data and its routes.
InteropEHRate will develop open interchange protocols supporting patient-centred exchange of health records between patients, healthcare actors and researchers. Thus, the project will contribute to the next steps in the follow-up of the February 2019 EC recommendation and help to pave the way towards an open European EHR exchange format and process. It will specifically add a decentral, patient-driven bottom-up approach as an alternative method to the top-down approach of exchanging patient data exclusively via the national contact for points for eHealth (NCPeH).
The key result is an interchange method comprising multiple components for establishing interoperable routes to communicate health data between different actors including patients and researchers. The method will consist of a specification and a reference implementation:
The Interoperate format specification – responding to the February 2019 EC recommendation towards an open European EHR exchange format – aims to become a HL7 FHIR specification in support of syntax and semantic requirements.
The project will moreover deliver a reference implementation that demonstrates the communication processes between patient APP and the health care providers as well as research institutions.
First of all, EHTEL develops the dissemination strategy of the project and oversees and coordinates – in collaboration with the project coordination and the project partners – its implementation, rollout and further refinement.
EHTEL has a longstanding track record of engaging in meaningful services enabled by standards and interoperability in the domain of digital health. To do this, EHTEL has been - formally and informally – fostering the stakeholder dialogue with other groups as well as enabling the dialogue of European policymakers, projects and initiatives with fellow stakeholder organisations in the fields, e.g. in the Joint Action JAseHN and via the EC managed European eHealth Stakeholder Group.
The EHTEL/ELO Network of National and Regional Competence Centres helps EHTEL to be instrumental since it provides a platform for the project to present and reflect its proceedings vs. ongoing national and international plans achievements on electronic health records on use cases and cross-border interoperability. Thus, a recent ELO meeting (in Bari, Italy) has already helped to launch the dialogue with members of the InteropEHRate external advisory board in a smooth and informal manner. Formal meetings will be organised in support of yearly project milestones.
Perspective and next steps
InteropEHRate is funded by the European Union for 42 months and is implemented by a unique consortium of experienced institutions and qualified experts. InteropEHRate partners represent healthcare solution providers, hospitals, universities and research centres as well as European and local stakeholder associations.
In the long run, the InteropEHRate specifications will be submitted into the international standardization process.
EHTEL welcomes to stay in touch with all stakeholders sharing an interest in interoperability, particularly in the field of electronic health records/electronic personal records and establishing national and regional solutions that do also support meaningfully cross-border healthcare services. EHTEL works here also in close contact with the relevant EC bodies and initiatives and EHTEL members are encouraged to get involved in policy formation in this field.
This project received EU funding.
***For more information visit the project website***