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Creation of a new European e-Health Network, opeing of a telemedicine center in Germany, disappointing e-medication project in Austria

On December 22, 2011, the European Commission adopted  the establishment of a pan-European e-Health Network with the objective to find modern, innovative solutions for providing better and safer healthcare for all Europeans. National authorities are invited to join the e-Health Network on a voluntary basis.

In its press release, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli said: "eHealth has the potential to deliver better healthcare to more people in a more sustainable manner. I am confident that the eHealth network will play a key role in making eHealth a reality across Europe: so that routine medical checks are performed in the comfort of our homes via telemonitoring; so that we take our ePrescription along with our eTicket when we travel, with the confidence that our medical information follows us everywhere in the EU; so that all Europeans can access the best possible healthcare wherever they are".

The eHealth network is mandated to draw up guidelines on a minimum set of common data to be included in patients' summaries; on methods to enable the use of medical information for public health and medical research; and on common identification and authentication measures to ensure transferability of data in cross-border healthcare.

The German province North RhineWestphalia has already "joined the club" and is planning to open a telemedicine center to provide health applications in the areas of teletherapie, telemonitoring and teleradiologie, besides others. The project budget for this initiative of 10 mill. Euro is jointly financed by the EU and North Rhine-Westphalia.

At the same time, the Association of Medicins in Austria declared that its pilot project e-medication was a "total desaster" (according to its vice-president, Johannes Steinhart) due to a disappointing number of participating patients and doctors.