Facilitating cross-border ePrescription services – a prime use case for UNICOM

On 20 April, the ePrescription Cluster of the European Union Member States’ Expert Community met online to be informed about UNICOM, discuss overlapping interests and activities, and to explore future cooperation options. This Cluster is a group of experts from EU member states working together on the deployment and expansion of cross-border ePrescription and eDispensation services. It is a part of the greater EU eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI) concerned with deployment and operation of services for cross-border health data exchange under the Connecting Europe Facility initiative. The eHDSI is a move from a project to the deployment phase of cross-border exchange of health data, and some groups of countries have already implemented a routine bilateral exchange of ePrescription and Patient Summary data. But, due to naming and other issues, the old problem of univocally identifying medicinal products in cross-border electronic health documents persists.

The UNICOM coordinator, Prof. Dr. Karl A. Stroetmann, introduced the aims and activities of the UNICOM Innovation Action, which is to improve the univocal identification of medicines, particularly also in cross-border use cases. A specific contribution by Marcello Melgara – UNICOM Action Line Lead for “Adaptation of cross-border digital health services” to ISO IDMP followed exploring how its European-wide implementation will impact on cross-border eHealth services.

It turned out that there would be several activities that should be performed in cooperation between the ePrescription Cluster and UNICOM, like the preparation of so-called Change Proposals in order to adapt technical guidelines towards ISO IDMP [hover: IDentification of Medicinal and pharmaceutical Products] implementation. However, this presupposes the availability of initial UNICOM results ready for implementation; this may take another 18 months from now. It was agreed to meet again in half a year for an update. Detailed slides of the UNICOM presentation at this event may be accessed from the eHDSI webpage.