Health systems in the European Union aim to provide high-quality, cost-effective care. This is particularly difficult however, in cases of rare or low-prevalence complex diseases which affect the daily lives of around 30million EU citizens.
European Reference Networks (ERNs) are virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe. They aim to facilitate discussion on complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment, and concentrated knowledge and resources.
To review a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, ERN coordinators convene ‘virtual’ advisory panels of medical specialists across different disciplines, using a dedicated IT platform and telemedicine tools.
The ERN initiative is mainly driven by EU countries. The Board of Member States is the formal body in charge of the approval and termination of networks and memberships as provided in the Commission’s Implementing Decision. The Board is comprised of representatives of the all EU countries and the EEA countries.