On 3rd May 2022, the European Commission launched the European Health Data Space (EHDS), which will help the EU to achieve a leap forward in the way healthcare is provided to people across Europe.
The EHDS will integrate three main product markets for primary use of health data: electronic health records, wellness apps, and other health and medical software products.
The European Health Data Space Objectives:
✓ Empower individuals through better digital access to their personal health data; support free movement by ensuring that health data follow people
✓ Unleash the data economy by fostering a genuine single market for digital health services and products
✓ Set up strict rules for the use of individual’s non-identifiable health data for research, innovation, policy-making and regulatory activities
Growth Potential of the Health Data Economy
At EU level, €810mn is available to support the development of the EHDS. In addition, Member States have earmarked €12bn under the Recovery and Resilience Facility for investments in health, including digital health and the secondary use of health data.
The Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, said: “I am proud to announce the first common EU data space in a specific area. The European Health Data Space will be a ‘new beginning’ for the EU’s digital health policy, making health data work for citizens and science. Today, we are laying down the foundations for secure and trustworthy access to health data that is fully in line with the fundamental values underpinning the EU.”
Why is this program important?
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of digital services in the health area. The uptake of digital tools increased significantly during this time. However, the complexity of rules, structures and processes across Member States makes it difficult to access and share health data, especially cross-border. In addition, health systems are now the target of increasing cyberattacks.
European Health Data Space Benefits
As a citizen
- You will have control over health data:
- You will have access to your health data in electronic form immediately and without any cost.
- You will be able to share your data with health professionals nationally or cross border.
- You will be able to add information, rectify errors, restrict access and obtain information on how your data are used.
- You will have a right to health data, issued and accepted, in a common European format.
- Your security and privacy will be ensured
- Researchers, industry or public institutions will have access to health data only for specific purposes that benefit individuals and society.
- The researcher, industry or public institution may only access data that do not reveal the identity of the individual.
- The data may only be accessed and processed in closed, secure environments.
As a researcher
- You will have access to large amounts of health data, of higher quality, in order to carry out research.
- You will be able to know what data is available, where, and of what quality.
- You will be able to access the data cheaper and more effectively.
As regulators and policy-makers
- You will have easier, more transparent and less costly access to non-identifiable health data for the benefit of public health
and the overall functioning of healthcare systems and to ensure patient safety.
- Thanks to standardization, you could more easily enter into new markets for electronic health records in other Member States.
- You will benefit from the greater availability of non-identifiable electronic health data, enabling the use of data for innovation.