The EU’s first international ePrescriptions are now obtainable: from today, Finnish patients will be able to collect digital prescriptions from Estonian pharmacies.
The initiative, which applies to doctor-issued digital prescriptions in Finland and Estonian pharmacies which have signed up to the agreement governing international ePrescriptions, forms part of the EU’s policy on Digital Health and Care, which aims to allow patients greater access and flexibility over their healthcare data and provision through digital technologies.
Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Congratulations to Finland and Estonia for showing the path in eHealth cooperation between states and I would like other countries to follow soon. People should be able to use their international ePrescriptions across borders. Free movement is a founding principle of the EU: we must make it as easy as possible for people to get treatment or medicines when abroad in the EU. The next major step will be to simplify patient access to their very own health data, by developing a common format for exchanging electronic health records between EU countries.”
Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “I very much welcome the first step in the exchange of international ePrescriptions between Finland and Estonia. Sharing ePrescriptions and Patient Summaries will be crucial for patient safety as it can help doctors to better understand a foreign patient’s medical history and can reduce the risks of incorrect medication and the costs of duplicate tests. The Commission will continue its support to expand these exchanges across the EU.”
Cross-border health services are progressively being introduced across Member States under the terms of the 2011 Directive on cross-border healthcare. In addition to expanding the scope of international ePrescriptions, other healthcare measures will include the international sharing – within the confines of the General Data Protection Regulation – of patient data between healthcare providers.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “This is a great starting point for better care for citizens, something arguably very important for them. International ePrescriptions and International Patient Summaries can save lives in case of emergency situations. The EU Budget financed the technical solutions used for these exchanges, showing once again how important and how close it is to citizen’s daily life.”