EU Health Data Space (cepPolicyBrief COM(2022) 197)
Medical findings, X-rays, prescriptions: With the Health Data Space (EHDS), the Commission wants to utilise storing and making use of sensitive patient data throughout the EU. In essence, it provides for national electronic health records that can be used across borders. The Centre for European Policy (cep) calls for better control rights for EU citizens, especially regarding the so-called secondary use of health data.
"The project makes sense because it allows individuals to access and control their health data across the EU. However, secondary use of health data for politics, science and industry needs to be improved, as those affected currently do not have sufficient control over their health data", says cep health expert Patrick Stockebrandt, who analysed the Commission's plans with cep economist Marco Mazzone. Health data is very sensitive and worth protecting. Sovereignty over their use must be left to the patients themselves.
"This is the only way to strengthen the fundamental freedoms of EU citizens in the area of cross-border healthcare. The EHDS is intended to create an internal market for health data, which can also be used to improve research, policy-making and regulatory activities in particular. In principle, we welcome this", emphasises Mazzone.
According to Stockebrandt, such an internal market for health data could lead to more competition in many areas of the health sector, for example with regard to the cross-border supply of medicines by pharmacies. The EHDS is a necessary project in an ever more digitalising world in which the EU and its Member States are in fierce competition with others.