The first call for new members to join the European Reference Networks (ERNs) is to be launched next week.
First established in 2017, the ERNs are virtual, cross-border networks which bring together centres of expertise and reference centres of European hospitals to address rare or low prevalence and complex diseases and conditions that require highly specialised healthcare.
There are currently 24 ERNs in existence which cover all of the major rare disease groups including childhood cancers, bone disorders and kidney disease. These networks include 956 highly specialised healthcare units from 313 hospitals located in 25 European Union Member States and Norway.
Each of the networks has a coordinator and all 24 are gathered within the ERN Coordinators group (ERN-CG). 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.
Information on preparing to apply is already available on the European Commission ERN website. Healthcare providers interested in applying will need to meet a number of criteria and must also be endorsed by their respective country. The online application tool will go live on September 30 and will remain open until November 30, 2019.