The use of electronic prescription has been designated as an important strategic policy to improve health care in Europe. The aim of the European Union is to have a cross-border electronic healthcare system in Europe which will enable EU citizens to obtain e-Prescriptions anywhere in Europe. Cross border e-Prescription presents a myriad of challenges. This paper examines the issues concerning the EU eHealth interoperability policy, specifically with regards to the cross-border use of e-Prescription. The research involved conducting a review of the most current literature and government reports regarding e-Prescription implementation on a national level in several European countries. The European Union is pushing for more cross border health data exchange. Despite favourable attitudes towards cross border e-Prescriptions, multiple perceived barriers impede its incorporation in clinical practice. There are varying interpretations and implementations of data protection and confidentiality laws in the 27 member states. Infrastructures are not in place to support the system and stakeholders in some jurisdictions are reluctant to embrace e-health due to the high cost and the lack of security of the systems. The study concludes that member states have varying degrees of health care policy, privacy enforcement and laws concerning data protection, telecommunication services and digital signature with regards to e-Prescription. Interoperability of different systems is only a partial solution. Security and enforcement of privacy must also be equally enforced.
Health and Technology, 2013, Vol 3, Issue 3, p. 205-219