EU and US Step Up Cooperation in eHealth and Health IT

Collaboration To Focus on International Standards and Workforce

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have agreed on a roadmap to strengthen transatlantic cooperation in eHealth and Health information technologies (IT).

The roadmap builds on a Memorandum of Understanding [PDF – 136 KB] on this topic, signed in 2010 under the auspices of the Transatlantic Economic Council.

Over the next 18 months the roadmap [DOCX – 136 KB] will guide the activities of the collaboration focusing on two high priority areas:

  • Standards Development: DG CONNECT and HHS – through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) – will develop an action plan to create standards to advance the development and use of internationally recognized standards which support transnational interoperability of electronic health information and communication technology;
  • Workforce Development: DG CONNECT and ONC are working to develop and expand a skilled health IT workforce in Europe and the US.

The Standards Development action plan is aimed at identifying common vocabularies, message structures and tools suitable for the international exchange of electronic health records. The goal of the Workforce Development action plan is to identify eHealth competencies and to create a draft joint curriculum that can be used in both the US and Europe to help enhance healthcare and related professional workforces.

Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate in the program. The work of this collaboration will be done in virtual meetings, conference calls, discussion groups, other communication tools and eventually by the pilot organizations themselves. A “Call to Action” will be issued in the coming weeks on a dedicated website. Thought leaders and champions from both the EU and the US will be identified to help guide the Standards Development and Workforce Development cooperative action plans.

The roadmap will be updated regularly. Updates will include status on the work accomplished as well as future activities of the collaborative. The roadmap also includes an in-person, joint EU-US eHealth/Health IT Cooperation Assembly during the EU’s eHealth Week, hosted by the Irish Presidency in Dublin Ireland on 13-15 May 2013. The MoU Roadmap website is hosted by DG CONNECT.