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Research note: A European ehealth space for moving cross-border eprescription and patient summary services forward

Dimitrios G. Katehakis (Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, Heraklion, Greece)
George Pangalos (Informatics and Information Security Laboratory, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Andriana Prentza (Department of Digital Systems, University of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 15 August 2016




The purpose of the paper is to present a framework for moving cross-border ePrescription (eP) and Patient Summary (PS) services forward, bearing in mind the needs and requirements of the European e-health space for cross-border eP and PS services, the limitations of the already developed solutions, as well as outcomes available from other domains.


The outcomes of previous and current large-scale pilot projects, aiming toward the delivery of electronic cross-border services, are examined. Integration of generic building blocks (BBs) is considered for the further development of cross-border eP and PS, in line with the European Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border health care.


The e-health domain is expected to greatly benefit from mitigating non-domain concerns such as those for electronic identification, end point detection, non-repudiation and the use of electronic signatures and trust establishments for basic cross-border public services in Europe.

Research limitations/implications

Research limitations are related to the fact that electronic identification, electronic signature and semantic issues have not been fully addressed yet at a European level to support cross-border services.

Practical implications

Practical implications are related to the cooperation, European level compatibility and sustainability of the underlying national infrastructures required to support reliable and secure exchange of medical data, as well as the readiness to address continuously evolving interoperability, legal and security requirements in a cross-border setting.


The need for consolidating the existing outcomes of non-health specific BBs is examined for two high-priority e-health services. Ongoing progress is presented, together with related issues that need to be resolved for improving technical certainty and making it easier to use health-care services abroad in cases of emergency.



Work reported in this paper is partially supported by the European Commission and specifically by the ICT-PSP of the CIP under the e-SENS project (“Electronic Simple European Networked Services”, contract number 325211, The authors would like to acknowledge contributions from Sören Bittins (FOKUS, Germany), Massimiliano Masi (FMH, Austria), Marcello Melgara (LISPA, Italy), Licínio Kustra Mano (SPMS, Portugal) and Francois Wisniewski (LIST, Luxembourg). Any opinions, results, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of e-SENS or the European Commission.


Katehakis, D.G., Pangalos, G. and Prentza, A. (2016), "Research note: A European ehealth space for moving cross-border eprescription and patient summary services forward", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 478-504.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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