Twelve European countries launch health data exchange pilot

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Twelve countries in Europe are participating in a large scale project, supported by the European Commission, to exchange healthcare data to ensure the interoperability of national e-health systems across the European Union.

The large scale pilot, European patient Smart Open Services (epSOS), is scheduled to run for three years. It is similar to efforts in the United States to create a nationwide health information network.

“Interoperability is obviously a key factor in this, and some countries struggle with interoperability within their own state, let alone beyond their borders. With the epSOS large scale pilot, we are trying to identify, and then test, the relevant tools to make things happen,” said Fabio Colasanti, European Commission director general in charge of information society and media, including information and communications technology for e-health.

Twelve countries have already signed-up for the three-year epSOS project, including: Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.  

The project is divided into work packages covering issues, such as: analysis of the current situation in the participating countries; exploration of legal questions; development of technical specifications covering the basic components needed to use personalized health data securely; and setting up a test environment to evaluate the findings in a realistic situation.