Italy: PEPPOL system takes over in the Emilia-Romagna Region

Italy: PEPPOL system takes over in the Emilia-Romagna Region


Javier García, our “Business Leader” for the PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) initiative in Emilia-Romagna gives us the keys to the new e-procurement system, designed to optimize the healthcare supply chain and improve the quality of patient care.

The PEPPOL initiative in Emilia-Romagna is contextualized in the Common European Framework whereby all EU countries are promoting technology projects to enhance paperless public sector management.

Beyond the benefits of modernizing the administration, these initiatives are aligned with directives such as 2014/24 /EU, regulating the creation of a platform for interoperable e-procurement and bidding at European level, or Directive 2014/55/EU, which requires member states to set up electronic billing systems based on a common standard.

The Emilia-Romagna region has gone beyond e-invoicing, setting up a dematerialization flow which is mandatory for orders and shipping notes exchanged between healthcare organizations and their suppliers.

“Since 30 June, these processes must be transacted electronically in accordance with the PEPPOL standard. This way, transactions are simplified, while the region also positions itself at the forefront of the e-Procurement initiatives soon to be rolled out in Europe,” explains Javier García, the EDICOM manager monitoring this Italian project.

The aim of PEPPOL is to consolidate a single standard shared by all businesses and Public Administrations in Europe. The goal is to provide a response to the problem of unification of communication standards and processes. As Javier García explains, “dematerialization processes are becoming widespread in many countries, but interoperability among them continues to be a challenge.” This is what prompted the Emilia-Romagna region to consider the use of an open and common standard, namely the UBL PEPPOL format.

PEPPOL operations in Emilia-Romagna

The healthcare e-Procurement initiative in Emilia-Romagna is supported by the Intercent-ER Agency and regulated by “Delibera n.287” of March 2015. The ruling sets out the project’s technical features and implementation deadlines.

“It is based on a communications network with its own protocols. Partners issue their messages in the UBL-PEPPOL standard and exchange their documents through one of the nodes in the PEPPOL network. Each node is designated an “Access Point”, and they must be accredited to operate in the network after passing a series of tests and certifications managed by the Intercent-ER agency”, explains EDICOM manager Javier García.

Once the dematerialization project is up and running, issuing of electronic purchase orders is developed in two phases:

  • The public body sends the order details to Intercent-ER.
  • Intercent-ER reissues the document in PEPPOL format to another Access Point such as EDICOM, which transforms it into the data schema required by the recipient and forwards it to them.
  • For despatch advice/ shipping notes, which must also be electronic, the process is as follows: The supplier sends the structured document to their Access Point.
  • The Access Point links up with Intercent-ER to forward them the supplier’s message.
  • Intercent-ER reissues the document in PEPPOL format to the recipient public agency.

These actions take place in real-time, speeding up the issuing process and response times for public administrations and their suppliers.

The future

The dematerialization project affects public healthcare in Emilia-Romagna and its suppliers, although projects of this kind are expected to spread to other regions and activity areas.

Beyond the sending and receiving of despatch advices and purchase orders considered in this project, the Italian public sector and its suppliers have been required to process e-invoicing since 2015.

“With this project, companies will see their economic costs are reduced, as well as the number of errors that occur in these tasks. Using PEPPOL also facilitates participation in public tenders and even continental trade, as the standard is swiftly spreading across Europe, evidenced by similar initiatives in Sweden or the United Kingdom with the NHS (National Health Service)”, concludes García.

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