Recognizing the specific nature of European health care systems and their differing requirements, IHE-Europe encourages the setting up of IHE Initiatives at the national or regional level.
Europe today counts national initiatives in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
A national IHE initiative promotes, supports and implements IHE activities within the respective country, and often at the regional level within the country. National IHE initiatives also assume the responsibility to represent the needs and requirements of their respective health care systems within activities of IHE-Europe.
National Initiatives are sponsored by professional associations and include membership and staff of these groups, as well as local hospital and vendor representatives.
A key role for a national initiative is to coordinate the deployment of the IHE Technical Framework and Integration Profiles and to then give input to development of this documentation relevant to local needs and issues. Specific IHE documentation relevant to individual European countries is contained within the national extension annexes to the Technical Framework documents accessible through the respective IHE National Initiatives.
A key requirement for the establishment of an IHE National Initiative in a country is the support of one or more IHE sponsors. The role of a national IHE Sponsor, typically an association or user organisation committed to the promotion of IHE, is to provide support, direction and resources to the newly formed IHE national initiative.