Updated HHS-European Union health IT initiative looks to boost transnational innovation

Innovation will be a key part of a modernized collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the European Commission's Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CONNECT).

In recent updates to the Transatlantic eHealth/health IT Cooperation Roadmap, which initially was published in 2013, HHS and DG CONNECT agree to focus much of their efforts on encouraging innovation, a third work-stream that will be added to standards development in support of transnational interoperability of electronic health information and workforce development in health IT.

Key elements of the innovation work-stream, according to the updated roadmap, will include:

  • Identifying stakeholders for support in both Europe and the U.S.
  • Keeping track of new health IT trends and developments
  • Partnerships between European and U.S. regions looking to solve similar challenges
  • Acknowledgement of complementary strengths and opportunities, and working to take advantage of both

In a June 2014 report, researchers from the U.S. and U.K. said while there is "widespread recognition" of open data's possibilities, the overall healthcare industry remains in the adolescent stages of understanding the best ways to take advantage of these resources. The report, from New York University's GovLab and NHS, aimed to created a blueprint for the use of open data in healthcare.

Meanwhile, in January that same year, HHS and the U.K.'s National Health Service signed a memorandum of understanding to share health IT information and tools with one another with an eye on improving healthcare quality and efficiency. That agreement focused on four key areas: sharing quality indicators; liberating data and putting it to work; adopting digital health record systems; and priming the health IT market.

A year earlier, a similar collaboration was announced between the U.S. Veterans Health Administration and NHS, the aim of which was to trigger both mainstream digital health efforts in the U.K. and specialized telehealth services in the VHA.

To learn more:
- here's the updated roadmap (.pdf)