In January 2012 the eHealth Network was established in accordance with the provisions of Article 14 - "eHealth" of Directive 2011/24 /EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 concerning cross-border healthcare.
The eHealth Network is a body aimed at supporting actions to promote the development and diffusion of eHealth at European level by supporting strategic-institutional cooperation between the national authorities responsible for healthcare, designated by the various Member States through European ehealth and interoperable applications.
The National Contact Point for eHealth (NCPeH) is an infrastructure aimed at guaranteeing interoperability services for the cross-border exchange of health data and documents, in particular for information relating to electronic prescription (ePrescription/eDispensation or eP/eD) and to the Patient Summary (PS). In the field of European interoperability, it is the first tool to be promoted by the eHealth Network.
The NCPeH constitutes the prerequisite for the creation of the national technical infrastructure to enable the exchange of data and documents at a cross-border Community level, in line with what is defined by the eHealth Network, and must be carried out on the basis of specific technical guidelines, also approved they within the aforementioned eHealth Network.
When the NCPeH will be operational, in the event of treatment in another Member State participating in the project, it will be possible for health professionals to retrieve the data reported in the Patient Summary. Similarly, a pharmacist connected to the NCPeH network will be able to retrieve dispensable prescriptions (ePrecription).
Through participation in the Call for Proposal 2015 CEF Telecom Call - eHealth promoted as part of the community program CEF - Connecting Europe Facility, the Ministry of Health, the Project Co-ordinator, The Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Agency for Digital Italy - AgID, involved on the basis of the competences attributed by the Law Decree 179/2012, and the Italian regions Lombardia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, are developing the "Deployment of generic cross border ehealth services in Italy" project, through which to identify and test the technical and operational criteria, necessary to ensure the interoperability of the Patient Summary and ePrescription at European level.
The project is organized into the following macro activities:
- Design of the NCPeh architecture
- NCPeH infrastructure development and deployment
- Operation of NCPeH
- Communication and training strategy
- Governance and Management
In addition to Italy, thanks to the funding received as part of the 2015 CEF Telecom Call - eHealth Call for proposal, another 16 Member States are actively preparing their own NCPeH. In order to expand participation to other Member States, the European Commission published a second Call with the same objective in May 2017 (2017 CEF Telecom Call - eHealth).
The realization of such a complex project, which provides for the participation in several phases of almost all the Member States of the European Commission, is supported by a governance structure led by the eHealth Network that allows to monitor the implementation of the NCPeH from all points of view: operational, technical, semantic and legal. For further details on governance at European level, please refer to the "Governance model for the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure during the CEF funding" approved in November 2016 by the eHealth Network.