European Commission and WHO/Europe sign 12 million agreements to strengthen Europe’s health information systems and promote health data governance and interoperability

WHO/Europe and the European Commission have embarked on an ambitious new partnership to strengthen health information systems in the WHO European Region and promote health data governance and interoperability. The €12 million program, funded by the European Commission, will provide healthcare services to nearly 1 billion people living in the region’s 53 countries.

Harnessing health data

The four-year program aims to improve the use and reuse of health data by healthcare providers, policymakers and patients, and to improve the quality and interoperability of health information systems.

To this end, WHO/Europe and the European Commission will develop and deliver capacity-building activities and assistance aimed at addressing gaps, needs and areas of expertise in health information systems and health data governance and capacity in supported countries, with a view to potentially Scaling up successful practices at the national or regional level.

“The full potential of leveraging health data effectively and securely means healthcare providers, policymakers and digital health innovators can quickly adopt new products and treatments, putting these tools into the hands of the people who need them most,” said Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“This new data and digital health partnership between the European Commission and WHO/Europe will further align our efforts to promote safe, reliable and resilient health information systems, based on European best practice.”

Ms. Sandra Gallina, Director General of Health and Food Safety of the European Commission, explained: “The importance of health data cannot be overstated. Having strong health information systems and accessible health data can Make healthcare more efficient, safe and personal, transforming public health as we know it. This is why the European Commission has developed proposals for a European Health Data Space, part of a strong European Health Union whose principles can not only Benefiting public health within the European Union (EU) and across Europe.”

She added: “The partnership with WHO/Europe is an important opportunity to accelerate European integration and support the alignment of health data governance and technical standards in EU and non-EU European countries with EU standards, including for citizens and health professionals Having access to health data.”

Promote European cooperation

The program will promote collaboration between participating countries, the European Commission, WHO/Europe and external stakeholders. A key aspect is the establishment of the Health Information Network, a national network that engages in collaborative decision-making, meaningful dialogue and knowledge exchange.

The initiative will be driven by the principles and ideas proposed in the European Health Data Space (EHDS) framework to promote the use and re-use of health data within the EU. The EHDS regulatory proposal, currently under negotiation in the European Parliament and Council, will make a significant contribution to the digital transformation of the healthcare industry.

The agreed program will support the objectives of the EU Global Health Strategy, the European Work Program 2020-2025, the WHO European Regional Action Plan on Digital Health 2023-2030 and the WHO Global Digital Health Strategy 2020 – 2025.


Systems that store healthcare data, including medical records, are called health information systems. For health information systems to be impactful and cost-effective, they need consistent and well-structured data. They also need to be able to connect with each other and exchange information across national and international borders. This is called interoperability.

The project is funded by the EU4HEALTH programme, which aims to “protect people in the EU and its neighboring countries from serious cross-border health threats”, with the theme of health data governance and interoperability.

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