Thursday, July 24, 2014

HPE goes LIVE on 9th September 2014

There's just over 6 weeks to go before HPE LIVE takes place, so don't miss the chance to join your colleagues at the free, CPD accredited conference specifically designed for the pharmacy community.

HPE LIVE features over 40 leading figures in European pharmacy, who will present the latest technologies and therapies and will share their knowledge and experience to help you to develop and enhance your department.

Confirmed speakers include:

Keynote Speaker: Professor Mark Ratain
Leon O Jacobson Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Personalized Therapeutics, Associate Director for Clinical Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Chicago

Ms Aisling Considine
Clinical Pharmacy Team Leader in Liver Services, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

Session: Understanding and managing hepatitis C

Professor Arnold VultoProfessor of Hospital Pharmacy and Practical Therapeutics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Session: Introducing biosimilars into the hospital setting

Dr. Nuttan TannaPharmacist Consultant, Womens Health & Older People Women's Services & Arthritis Centre, NW London Hospitals NHS Trust

Session: Effective management of osteoporosis

Professor Pascal Bonnabry
Head of Pharmacy, Geneva University Hospitals. Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universities of Geneva & Lausanne, Switzerland

Session: Evaluating the risk of aseptic preparations

Don't leave it to the last minute: secure your free place today by simply clicking here to register online or call 44 (0) 207 214 0693.


HPE Live

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cross-border health project epSOS: What has it achieved?

In June 2014 the large-scale epSOS pilot, providing smart cross-border health services, came to an end. The epSOS team has written a letter to highlight the achievements of the project, outline initiatives taking the results forward, inform about where project outputs can be accessed after the project, and last but not least thank everyone involved.

epSOS, meaning "Smart Open Services for European Patients", was a European large-scale pilot testing the cross-border sharing of certain health data: a summary of a patient's most important health data in case of unplanned care (the patient summary) and the electronic prescription (ePrescription).

25 Countries

This initiative broke new ground and generated a lot of interest in Europe: "When the project was initiated in 2008 it involved a few stakeholders, but it gradually grew to encompass 25 countries and about 50 beneficiaries", project coordinator Fredrik Lindén (Sweden) and his team write in their letter.
"The epSOS project achieved considerable results in a range of areas. Main technical deliverables include development of a solid basis for the eprescription and patient summary services, considering: governance, use cases, data content, semantics, specifications, architecture, testing mechanisms, etc."

Concrete practice 

"Importantly", the experts continue, "epSOS has taken these results into concrete practice: 16 pilots of epSOS services achieved live operations during the project. Although there were fewer cases of real patients using the services than originally envisioned, the pilot operations constituted substantial progress."

National and European level

According to professor Lindén and his team, there is a strong momentum for eHealth interoperability in Europe. "European eHealth interoperability is currently supported by the Directive (2011/24/EU) on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. […] Nevertheless, implementation of cross-border eHealth services is to a significant extent a national prerogative."
But exciting things are taking place on European level: The eHealth Network (eHealth representatives of the Member States) has established a subgroup of Member States dedicated to the continuation of the epSOS services.
Also, the EU-funded EXPAND project aims to secure the epSOS pilot services in anticipation of a handover to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). And the OpenNCP community has prepared a roadmap for possible future development and intends to remain active, provided continued support from in particular national stakeholders.

The value of epSOS 

Recognizing the epSOS results will be relevant for future initiatives. "The value of epSOS and all our work is confirmed by the continued commitment of stakeholders at national and European levels. The results are taken forward by various endeavours. These will be all the more effective and rapid the more support you can give, also when we enter this new phase", the epSOS team concludes.


The epSOS project ran for six years (2008-2014) and set out to develop, pilot and evaluate cross-border eHealth services, and to formulate recommendations for future work. The focus has been safe, secure and high-quality services for exchange of patient summary data and ePrescriptions between European countries.
epSOS was partially funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), as part of the Competitiveness and Framework Programme by the European Commission (Project budget: 38.111.769 €, EU-Contribution: 17.999.000 €). The website will remain accessible until end 2017. The website contains a wealth of information about epSOS, including national contacts, deliverables describing project results, information about the design process, etc.

Read the full letter.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

EAHP: Apps involving medicines should have pharmacist oversight


The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has responded to a consultation by the European Commission advising that any mHealth applications linked to the use of medicines must have levels of regulatory oversight, ideally involving pharmacist expertise, in order to ensure their safety. 

The European Commission launched a consultation on mHealth in April 2014, asking healthcare professionals and patients for input on the health related applications of smartphone technology. One of EAHP’s key points was that the introduction of new technologies in the hospital setting has been an ever-present reality. Lessons learned include the need to understand the potential positive applications of a new technology at an early stage, and for Governments and health system managers to take a leadership role in achieving their realisation. This lesson, for example, is evident in the difficulties experienced in achieving bedside scanning as a patient safety measure within hospital systems - as medicines still do not typically contain a bar code to the single unit. 

Another key point of EAHP’s response was to underline safety needs when applying mHealth to any process involving medicines. 

Dr Roberto Frontini, President of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, said: 

The implications of a badly designed mHealth application related to medicines use is frightening. All medicines can potentially cause harm if not taken properly. Therefore, when it comes to mHealth apps and medicines, a level of regulatory oversight is required. We recommend pharmacists be involved in both development and testing of such applications. Indeed, the need for such pharmacist involvement in ICT processes involving medicines was a strong component of the recently published European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy, agreed with patient organisations and other healthcare professionals. 
Beyond this, we urge the European Commission to learn lessons of experience. Technology can offer so much. However, without both vision to see potential positive applications, and subsequent coordination, too often the benefits are not realised. We see this, for example, with our ongoing campaign to achieve bedside scanning of medicines in hospitals. Barriers and obstacles have to be identified and lifted. There is an important coordinating role for the Commission in this regard.
Finally, we urge the Commission not to think about mHealth as only having cost-saving benefits. Improved patient safety and patient outcomes must be considered as just as important, if not more so.” 

The consultation remains open until the end of Friday 10th July. The response of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists is available here

For further information contact 00 322 741 6835 

1. The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) is an association of national organisations across 34 countries representing hospital pharmacists at European and international levels. More information about the EAHP and its history here
2. More details about the European Commission’s consultation are available here. The response of EAHP is available here
3. More details about bedside scanning of medicines in hospitals, its patient safety benefits, and the need to achieve bar coding of medicines to the single unit to realise wider take-up, are available here
4. Statement 1.7 of the European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy states: “Hospital pharmacists must be involved in the design, specification of parameters and evaluation of ICT within the medicine processes. This will ensure that pharmacy services are integrated within the general Information and Communication Technology (ICT) framework of the hospital including electronic health (eHealth) and mobile health (mHealth) procedures.” 
5. Requests for interviews with Dr Roberto Frontini and national spokespersons for EAHP country member associations on the topic of mHealth (or other subjects) can be made by contacting