Unresolved legal questions in cross-border health care in Europe: liability and data protection

I. N. van der Molen*, M. J. Commers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Directive 2011/24/EU was designed to clarify the rights of EU citizens in evaluating, accessing and obtaining reimbursement for cross-border care. Based on three regional case studies, the authors attempted to assess the added value of the Directive in helping clarify issues in to two key areas that have been identified as barriers to cross-border care: liability and data protection. Study design: Qualitative case study employing secondary data sources including research of jurisprudence, that set up a Legal framework as a base to investigate liability and data protection in the context of cross-border projects. Methods: By means of three case studies that have tackled liability and data protection hurdles in cross-border care implementation, this article attempts to provide insight into legal certainty and uncertainty regarding cross-border care in Europe. Results: The case studies reveal that the Directive has not resolved core uncertainties related to liability and data protection issues within cross-border health care. Some issues related to the practice of cross-border health care in Europe have been further clarified by the Directive and some direction has been given to possible solutions for issues connected to liability and data protection. Conclusions: Directive 2011/24/EU is clearly a transposition of existing regulations on data protection and ECJ case law, plus a set of additional, mostly, voluntary rules that might enhance regional border cooperation. Therefore, as shown in the case studies, a practical and case by case approach is still necessary in designing and providing cross-border care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-993
JournalPublic Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Cross-border
  • Health care
  • Liability
  • Data protection
  • Directive 2011/24/EU

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