Public Health : Health Care: Several Elements of Cooperation Planned

Article excerpt

Beyond the cross-border aspect, the draft directive on patients' rights and access to care in the EU, presented on 2 July, sets out a series of cooperation initiatives between national authorities. Less controversial aspects than cross-border access to health care that are proposed include putting in place European reference networks as well as provisions on medical technology and online health.

Such European reference networks could bring together, on a voluntary basis throughout the EU, specialised national centres in order to provide patients high quality expertise and care - with a corresponding cost. Patients may be able to visit these centres in other EU member states. To test the concept, the Commission is funding pilot projects, particular in the field of rare illnesses. The objective is the exchange of national experience, as is customary in the field of health in the EU. These first attempts will serve, for example, to identify practical and legal "obstacles" for future networks. The Commission wants to make medical training and research, as well as assessment and the dissemination of information, key elements. It believes that this will facilitate patients' access to highly specialised care. Another idea is for national health systems to link their resources to become more efficient.

INTEROPERABILITY

The Commission is also due to invite member states to cooperate more in the field of the "assessment of medical technology". …