SUSTAINS – Support USers To Access INformation and Services – is a three-year project aimed at developing and deploying a basket of services in 11 European regions providing patients’ access to Electronic Health Records (EHR).

The project, which kicked-off in January 2012, represents an excellent opportunity to explore and gather evidence-based information on patients’ access to EHR and assess whether and how patient empowerment can be effectively strengthened as a result of such access. The services proposed have been distilled from the experience of European regions which have already pioneered such access. Although each of these services has a specific objective, all the services contribute to the achievement of a new paradigm in healthcare in which the citizen/patient is no longer a passive subject, but an active player in the management of his/her own health.

    SUSTAINS is a pilot study aiming to measure the impact of the identified services for patient access across the EU in the three areas below:
  1. Empowerment of patients: There is a growing tendency by patients and the public to question information from the health system, ask for a second opinion, demand respect and dignity in their treatment, expect convenience, etc.
  2. Medical results: Progress in treatment especially of chronic diseases need efficient and continuous contact between the patient and the professionals in order to achieve optimal medical result.
  3. Efficiency and economy: With the new treatments available, and the growing demand from patients/public, there is a need for improved efficiency and economy.

The consortium consists of 16 partners, including the coordinator. There are two national bodies involved from Estonia and Slovenia; eight regional-level bodies from the following regions: Uppsala County, (SE project leader), Region Syddanmark (DK), Aragon (ES), Pais Vasco (ES), Scotland (UK), Thessaly and Central Greece (EL), South Karelia (FI), Norrbottern (SE); and one local-level body from Asolo – Regione Del Veneto (IT). Some regions are supported by eHealth competence centers. The project consortium also includes four European-level organisations, including EPF.