European Reference Networks (ERNs)

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Publication Date February 2017
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European Reference Networks (ERNs) are virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe. They aim to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment and a concentration of knowledge and resources.

The Commission has created the framework for the ERNs in March 2014 and provides grants and technical networking facilities to support network coordinators. However, the driving forces behind these networks are healthcare providers and national health authorities. They show trust, take ownership and have the most active role in the development and functioning of the networks.

The ERNs were set up in the framework of the 2011 Directive on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. This Directive also makes it easier for patients to access information on healthcare and thus to increase their treatment options.

+ Launch of the first European Reference Networks, 1 March 2017

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