Purpose: Countries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have invested in health information and communication technologies. Since eHealth challenges cross borders a European Union-United States of America conference on public policies relating to health IT and eHealth was held October 20-21, 2008 in Paris, France.
Process: The conference was organized around the four themes: (1) privacy and security, (2) health IT interoperability, (3) deployment and adoption of health IT, and (4) Public Private Collaborative Governance. The four key themes framed the discussion over the two days of plenary sessions and workshops.
Results: Key findings of the conference were organized along the four themes. (1) Privacy and security: Patients' access to their own data and key elements of a patient identification management framework were discussed. (2) Health IT interoperability: Three significant and common interoperability challenges emerged: (a) the need to establish common or compatible standards and clear guidelines for their implementation, (b) the desirability for shared certification criteria and (c) the need for greater awareness of the importance of interoperability. (3) Deployment and adoption of health IT: Three major areas of need emerged: (a) a shared knowledge base and assessment framework, (b) public-private collaboration and (c) and effective organizational change strategies. (4) Public Private Collaborative Governance: Sharing and communication are central to success in this area. Nations can learn from one another about ways to develop harmonious, effective partnerships.
Conclusions: Three areas that were identified as highest priority for collaboration included: (1) health data security, (2) developing effective strategies to ensure healthcare professionals' acceptance of health IT tools, and (3) interoperability.