Recognising the specific nature of European healthcare systems and their differing requirements, IHE-Europe encourages the setting up of National Initiatives at the national level.
A National IHE Initiative promotes, supports and implements IHE activities within the respective country and often at the regional level within the country. National IHE Initiatives also assume the responsibility to represent the needs and requirements of their respective healthcare systems within activities of IHE-Europe. National Initiatives are sponsored by national professional associations as well as health authorities. They include membership and staff of all stakeholder groups, including local hospital and vendor representatives.
A key role for a National Initiative is to coordinate the deployment of the IHE Technical Framework and Integration Profiles and to then give input to development of this documentation relevant to local needs and issues. Specific IHE documentation relevant to individual European countries is contained within the national extension annexes to the Technical Framework documents accessible through the respective IHE National Initiatives.
A key requirement for the establishment of an IHE National Initiative in a country is the support of one or more IHE sponsors. The role of the national IHE sponsors, typically health authorities or professional associations, is to promote IHE, providing support, direction and resources to the IHE National Initiative.