EU Policies

The European Commission is constantly developing healthcare and eHealth policies through various programmes. IHE-Europe is actively engaged in these efforts both by supporting the Commission with knowledge and expertise as well as by taking part in various projects.

The European Commission seeks the improvement of citizens’ health, the increase of healthcare quality and citizens’ access to healthcare and the development of healthcare tools and solutions that will be more effective, more user-friendly and widely accepted. In order to reach these goals, the Commission seeks cooperation with various bodies comprising IHE-Europe.

The European Affairs Committee of IHE-Europe liaises with the Commission and its Directorates to bring IHE's expertise on standards-based interoperability specifications, testing strategies and testing methods as well as evaluation processes to the table. There are quite a few notable examples of IHE’s contribution to European eHealth.

The epSOS Large Scale Pilot for example, that not only developed but also piloted an infrastructure for the exchange of patient information, serves as a blueprint for cross-border eHealth information exchange and serves today as the basis of the eHealth Digital Infrastructure for cross border exchange under the Connecting Europe Facilities (CEF). IHE Profiles form the heart of the infrastructure design, which assured scalability and expandability, and instant adoption by healthcare users and vendors alike.

Another achievement has been the official identification by the European Commission of 27 IHE Profiles for public procurement. The implication is that in procurement processes for eHealth systems on all levels, local to European-wide, IHE conformity will be required. That will act as a catalyst for vendors to adopt these IHE Profiles, making eHealth across Europe ever more interoperable.

The European Electronic Health record exchange format recommendation adopted by the European Commission sets out a framework that includes among other things a set of common technical specifications for the cross-border exchange of data in certain health information domains. Published in 2019, this recommendation highlights the interest to use the IHE profiles already recommended or IHE profiles currently at trial stage and able to meet the requirements for secure health data exchange

More recently the 2020 rolling Plan for ICT standardization in eHealth lists relevant activities in support of the EU policies activities. IHE drafts a white paper developing a vision for interoperability that answers the European recommendation for developing a “common approach in support of mobile applications to help address the COVID-19 crisis.”