There have been many developments in the past months that have brought us further along the path to making European Reference Networks (ERNs) a reality in the EU. Here are some highlights:
- On 8-9 October 2015, the second ERN conference took place in Lisbon, bringing together, highly specialised healthcare providers, experts, national authorities, decision-makers, patient and professional organisations and other interested stakeholders to discuss how to establish and assess ERNs, and the next steps in the deployment process. The conference report, satisfaction survey, presentations and videos are now available online.
- In December 2015, several documents in the ERN Assessment Manual and Toolbox(scroll to bottom of page) have been updated for the benefit of potential applicants for the upcoming call for ERNs who may be interested in carrying out a self-assessment exercise. Also, a comprehensive list of FAQs have been added to the website, and the RD-ACTION Joint Action, financed by the Health Programme has launched an online ‘Matchmaker’ tool aiming to help those healthcare providers planning to present a Network proposal to connect.
- In January 2016, the ERN Board of Member States, the body in charge of the approval of Networks and its Members agreed on a Strategic paper on the ERN implementation, which lays out strategic recommendations for issues such as how ! to address fragmentation, how to support collaboration and promote cooperation between similar interested groups in a common thematic field, and how to indicate the priorities, thematic areas or strategic value the MS would like to promote.
- The publication of the call for interest for ERNs is expected in March 2016.
- Regarding funds for the implementation of the ERN IT platform, the Connecting European Facilities (CEF) 2015 work plan (see pages 35-39 of the annex) has been amended and now includes a specific budget line to develop a centralised ERN IT platform. A call for tender is expected to be launched in 2016.
For more information on cross-border healthcare and ERNs: