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Cross-border Healthcare in Europe: Promoting Patients’ Rights and Boosting Cooperation

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 10:00 - 16:30
Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre, Brussels - Avenue du Boulevard 17
1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium
+44 (0)20 3137 8630
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European citizens enjoy a variety of rights when it comes to intra-EU mobility, including the right to seek care in another Member State. Directive 2011/24/EU on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare codifies patients’ right to receive health treatment, including planned procedures, in another Member State (MS) and to then get reimbursed domestically up to the level that would have been covered by their home State. However, almost three years after the deadline for transposition of the Directive into national law, and despite the data showing that about half of the EU citizens would be open to the idea of travelling abroad to receive treatment (Eurobarometer on Patient Rights, published in 2015), the actual levels of patient mobility for planned healthcare are still relatively low, with cross-border healthcare accounting for approximately1% of the total EU public healthcare spending.

Reasons for the under-utilisation of this tool of citizen empowerment can be detected in a significant information gap and lack of awareness by  patients of the Directive itself, as well as of instruments such as the National Contact Points (NCPs), with only one in ten Europeans being informed about them. Other critical aspects to be refined are reimbursement schemes and prior authorization procedures, which differ by MS and may deter patients who seek care abroad. Further, the latest Commission report analysing MS’s data on cross-border healthcare for the year 2015 indicates that Europeans tend to be wary of language barriers and the cost of care abroad.

The realization of the full potential of the Directive’s provisions is still in development. As recently as March 2017, the Commission launched the European Reference Networks (ERNs), creating cross-border virtual networks of healthcare providers across the EU to tackle rare diseases and conditions. This pooling of knowledge and resources will allow interaction among professionals and medical specialists grouped by specialty, hopefully leading to advancements and improved care for all. Additionally, the potential of telemedicine and e-health, including trans-nationally valid e-prescriptions, is still largely untapped, and barriers include lack of interoperability and confidentiality needs.

This international symposium will provide a valuable opportunity for constructive debate on the latest instruments in support of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, as well as on the status of its implementation. The symposium will grant stakeholders the opportunity to exchange innovations and experiences in the field, between cross-border regions and national healthcare systems, as well as evaluate steps to be taken to improve citizens’ awareness of the rights offered by the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive. Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. 


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

Promoting the Potential of Cross-Border Healthcare in Europe 

  • Analysing the Operation of the Cross-Border Directive: Looking into the 2016 Commission Report 
  • Strengthening the National Contact Points by Promoting Cooperation   
  • Sharing Best Practice and Effective Cross-Border Collaboration Projects 
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Innovations in the Cross-Border Healthcare Landscape

  • Discovering the Potential of the Newly Established European Reference Networks in Battling Rare Diseases  
  • Capitalising on Available Technologies: Promoting System Interoperability to Foster E-Health 
  • Analysing Challenges and Legal Barriers to a Fully-Functioning Telemedicine 
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

Guaranteeing Quality of Care and Transparency of Information for the Patients 

  • Ensuring Even Standards of Care and Equality of Access
  • Assessing the Role of Insurers and Reimbursement Procedures 
  • Identifying Barriers to Cross-Border Services Accessibility 
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Supporting the Movement of Healthcare Workers Across Europe  

  • Monitoring the Implementation of the Professional Qualification Recognition Directive and Its Effects on Health Workers 
  • Analysing Needs and Challenges of an Evolving Healthcare Workforce  
  • Sharing Best Practice and Successful Experiences  
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close

 ** Please note that the programme and speakers are subject to change without notice **


For Registration, click here.



All Dates

  • Tuesday, 12 September 2017 10:00 - 16:30

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