Study on cross-border health services: enhancing information provision to patients

Client: European Commission (CHAFEA / DG SANTE) | Sectors: Social Policy

Appropriate information on all essential aspects of cross-border healthcare is necessary in order to allow patients to exercise their right to cross-border healthcare in practice.

Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare asks MS to provide information on cross-border healthcare to patients through the establishment of National Contact Points (NCPs). Previous studies show that information provision by NCPs to patients could be improved. 
The overall objective of this study was to propose recommendations for improving the current level of information provision to patients by NCPS. 

As a result, Ecorys: 

•    Identified the legal information requirements and the needs of patients 

•    Assessed the status quo of information provision by NCPs 

•    Developed a toolbox and training material for the NCPs to improve the quality of information provision to patients on cross-border healthcare. 

This was carried out using a combination of research methods including a literature review, an analysis of legal texts, website analysis, pseudo-patient investigation, NCP and patient surveys, bilateral exchanges and a workshop with NCPs. 

The core findings of the study are:

1. There is a general lack of awareness of the existence of the Directive and NCPs

2. The information provision through NCP websites was adequate, but there remains a need to improve the websites

3. There are organisational differences between NCPs. These concern the number of NCPs in each Member State, the institution hosting the NCP, funding and staff, and organizational handling of patients

4. Information provision for incoming patients is less complete compared to that of outgoing patients

5. Overall, there is still ample room for improvement in NCP practices. There is especially great potential for NCPs to learn from each other and help each other improve their information provision to patients in the context of cross-border healthcare

Final Report on website DG SANTE

Annexes to final report on website DG SANTE

Executive summary on website DG SANTE

Key Experts

Kim Weistra Senior Consultant