Background & eHealth Network

EHealth, the integration of ICT into health services, is a major supporting factor in enhancing the quality, efficiency and effectivity of healthcare services. The ultimate objective of EU Member States (MS) is to better integrate eHealth into health policy and better align eHealth investments with health needs. One aspect is the transferability of health data across MS borders, which is linked to the organizational, technical, semantic and legal interoperability of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in health. In order to ensure progress and bridge the gaps between the levels of governance, strategy and operation, a dedicated mechanism for eHealth at the EU level has been established: the eHealth Network (eHN).

The eHN was formally established in 2011 through the European Commission Implementing Decision 2011/890/EU based on Article 14.3 of Directive 2011/24/EU (on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare). The eHN is a voluntary network composed of high-level representatives from all national health authorities in the EU, and represents the highest decision-making body at the EU political level in the field of eHealth. Its agenda, which is valid until 2018, is defined in the eHN’s Multiannual Work Plan (MWP) and was adopted by the members in 2014. From 2011 until 2014 the “eHealth Governance Initiative” served as the main preparatory body for the eHN. In order to maintain this overall mechanism and to ensure further common political leadership and the ongoing integration of eHealth into health policy, the “Joint Action to support the eHealth Network” (JAseHN) was launched in May 2015 to take over this preparatory role.