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Papers of the Week

2019 Jun

J Biomed Inform


The New European Interoperability Framework as a Facilitator of Digital Transformation for Citizen Empowerment.



Healthcare is a highly regulated domain. Seamless, online access to integrated electronic health records for citizens is still far from becoming a reality. The implementation of personally managed health data systems still needs to overcome several interoperability, usability, ethics, security, and regulatory issues to deliver the envisioned benefits. This paper offers a policy viewpoint on how the new European Interoperability Framework (EIF) may benefit the implementation of eHealth systems for the management of personal health information for citizens. Interoperability facilitates sharing of health and illness experiences, coordinated care and research for citizen empowerment and improved health outcomes. The adoption of principles relevant to core interoperability and generic user needs and expectations, as described in the new EIF, in line with European and national regulations are quite essential for the development of safe and secure patient access services to support mobility. An interoperability framework facilitates the creation of the appropriate context in which personal health record applications can be designed and implemented in support of disease specific solutions, such as chronic non-malignant pain, diabetes and cancer. It is evident that no solution will fit all circumstances. However, the new EIF, when adapted for personally managed health data, provides a useful and relevant framework to facilitate implementation and adoption of personal health record systems within a coordinated care environment. Practical implications of this work relate to the need of multi-disciplinary cooperation and European level compatibility and sustainability of the underlying infrastructures required to support reliable and secure access to and sharing of medical data, as well as the readiness to address continuously evolving functional and non-functional requirements for regional, national, and cross-border settings.