U.S. and EU Advance Cooperation on e-Health During High Level Event in Boston

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
November 8, 2012

On October 23-24, the Transatlantic Health IT/eHealth Cooperation Assembly co-organized by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the European Commission (EC) Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology and the U.S.-EU e-Health Marketplace organized by the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), the Northern Ireland Massachusetts Connection (NIMAC) and the European Commission took place in Boston. These events, under the auspices of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), included two days of high level presentations by healthcare providers and leaders from both sides of the Atlantic including the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray, along with Ministers from Latvia, Ireland, and Northern Ireland and high level officials from Department of Health and Human Services and the European Commission. The Marketplace included over 400 participants from 24 nationalities, a formal matchmaking program with over 300 scheduled meetings, an exhibition space and a speakers' corner for company presentations. The event provided the opportunity for key companies, health providers, and research institutions to develop business relationships, research and other collaborations that will bring innovative health IT solutions to patients across the U.S. and Europe.

The Marketplace focused on economic benefits of transatlantic eHealth cooperation and was co-located with the Transatlantic Health IT/eHealth Cooperation Assembly co-organized by HHS and the EC. Through a series of meetings held during and immediately following the events, U.S. and EU officials continued progress on the development of a roadmap describing implementing arrangements for the December 2010 EC & HHS Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Surrounding Health Related Information and Communication Technology. The roadmap will lay out concrete steps that can be taken towards achieving transatlantic interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs), through the use of common standards and tools.

The initial focus will be to identify common vocabularies and message structures suitable for use in electronic health records that could be exchanged internationally. This could pave the way for further collaboration with industry to identify potential pilots for patient mediated e-health record exchange. The roadmap will also look at strategies for development of a skilled health IT workforce and of e-Health/health IT proficiencies in the health professional workforce, working with professional associations to identify potential pilot projects across the Atlantic. The initial roadmap is expected to be finalized by December 2012, before the next meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council. The implementation arrangements are expected to include updating the roadmap on a regular basis over time.

Future Joint U.S.-EU eHealth Events

Due to the successful format of the Boston Transatlantic Health IT/e-Health Cooperation Assembly and of the e-Health marketplace, similar events are expected to be held during the Irish Presidency of the European Union during e-Health Week May 13-15, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.


On November 29, 2011, the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), represented by co-chairs U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, reaffirmed their commitment to pursue the on-going collaboration on e-health, so as contribute to meeting global health policy challenges and deliver the benefits of e-health to consumers and providers. The two sides were urged to swiftly develop specific implementing arrangements for the December 2010 E-Health Memorandum of Understanding and to present concrete steps towards achieving interoperability of electronic health records. The events held in Boston are part of the on-going EU-U.S. collaboration on e-health aimed to fulfill that objective.