Commission makes it easier for citizens to access health data securely across borders

health data 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today the Commission presents a set of recommendations for the creation of a secure system that will enable citizens to access their electronic health files across Member States.

Currently the ability of European citizens to access their electronic medical records across the EU greatly varies from one country to another. Although some citizens can access part of their electronic health records at national level or across borders, many others have limited digital access or no access at all. For this reason the Commission is today making recommendations that will facilitate access across borders that is secure and in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, stated “People ask for secure and complete online access to their own health data, wherever they are. Healthcare professionals need reliable health records to give better informed and faster treatment. Our health systems need the best resources for the best personalised care. Together, we need to speed up and develop the secure exchange of electronic health records across the EU. It will improve life for citizens and help innovators find the next generation of digital solutions and medical treatments.”

Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis in charge of Health and Food Safety, added: “How many of us, when travelling or relocating to another Member State, have wished we could access to our own medical data and share them with a local General Practitioner? Moreover, being able to securely share medical information with doctors abroad has the potential not only to substantially improve the quality of care we receive but also to have a positive effect on healthcare budgets. It is less likely that expensive medical tests, such as imaging or laboratory analyses, would need to be repeated.  

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society, added: “As part of our efforts to provide EU citizens access to safe and top quality digital services, today’s initiative will help patients get their treatment wherever they are in the EU, including in emergency situations. The proposed EU framework for an electronic health record exchange will also allow doctors and other medical practitioners to assist citizens more efficiently and effectively.”

Member States have already started to make some parts of electronic health records accessible and exchangeable across borders. Since 21 January 2019, Finnish citizens can buy medicines using their ePrescriptions in Estonia and Luxembourgish doctors will be soon able to access the patient summaries of Czech patients.

Today’s recommendations propose that Member States extend this work to three new areas of the health record, namely to laboratory tests, medical discharge reports and images and imaging reports. In parallel, the initiative paves the way for development of the technical specifications to be used to exchange health records in each case.

As a result, access to complete and personal health records across the EU can offer immense benefits to European citizens, such as the following:

  • If someone has an accident while travelling in another EU Member State, doctors will have immediate access to information about the patient (e.g. details of chronic conditions, allergies or intolerances to certain medications). This can significantly increase their ability to provide the most effective and timely treatment.
  • Increasing the quality and ensure continuity of care for citizens as they move around the EU.
  • Boosting medical research into major health challenges such as chronic and neurodegenerative diseases, by easing the sharing of data. This is subject to the citizen’s consent, in a meaningful manner and in full compliance with European data protection rules.
  • Supporting the efficiency and sustainability of health systems by, for instance, sharing patient’s recent laboratory or radiology tests of a patient. In this manner, a hospital in another Member State will not need to repeat similar tests, saving time and reducing hospital costs.

Next steps

To further develop this exchange of information, a Joint Coordination Process between the Commission and the Member States will be set up. This will allow for contributions and input from stakeholders such as industry representatives, health professionals and patients representatives at both EU and national level.

The Joint Coordination Process will ensure that all the relevant parties are involved in the process of developing the European Electronic Health Records (EHR) exchange format. The Member States, within the eHealth Network, will establish practical guidelines for the implementation and monitoring of its progress.

Background

The Communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single market, adopted in April 2018, identified three areas for action:

(1) Citizens’ secure access to and sharing of health data across borders;

(2) Better data to advance research, disease prevention and personalised health and care;

(3) Digital tools for citizen empowerment and person-centred care.

In addition to Finland, Estonia, Luxembourg and Czech Republic, 18 countries are expected to exchange patient summaries and e-prescriptions by the end of 2021. Supported by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Telecom programme, many Member States are already working on an eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure within the eHealth Network.

The recommendation supports Member States to take these exchanges further. It builds on patient summaries and e-prescriptions/e-dispensation exchanges and proposes specifications for new use cases, such as laboratory results, medical imaging and reports and hospital discharge reports, in the first phase. The Recommendation underlines that moving towards interoperable Electronic Health Records in the EU should go hand in hand with ensuring data protection and security, in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and in full compliance with the cybersecurity framework.

Related to this EU action, a revised Implementing Decision on providing the rules for the establishment, the management and the functioning of the network of national authorities responsible for eHealth (2011/890/EU) is also in preparation. The Decision aims to clarify the functioning of the eHealth Network, in particular in relation to the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure. The call for feedback process closed today. The Commission will process the input received from stakeholders and will release the results within the coming months.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

DR Congo: Strengthened effort against Ebola is paying off, but insecurity still major constraint – UN health agency

World Pride underscores that all people are born ‘free and equal’ in dignity and human rights

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

Can the next financial crisis be avoided?

World Food Programme accesses Yemeni frontline district for first time since conflict began

Real EU unemployment rate at 10.2%+4.1%+4.7%: Eurostat Update

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Youth for Climate Change

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Libya ‘war crime’ attack, Sudan, Myanmar rights violations continue, ‘xenophobia’ in Assam, South Sudan update

Brexit: Is there anybody supporting a non-violent separation?

UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

China in My Suburbs

JADE Handover Ceremony at the European Parliement

So different, so close – for two twinning cities

Budget MEPs approve €104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile has power to tame transaction fees – PayPal CEO

NEC @ European Business Summit 2014: The Digitally Enabled Grid

Ebola situation worsening in DR Congo, amidst growing ‘funding gap’ UN health agency warns

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

The Indian case: health policies need to keep pace with public health literacy

Ebola: EU announces new funds to strengthen preparedness in Burundi

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

Progress on gender equality is too slow, says OECD on International Women’s Day

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

Central Africa Republic: Violence drives thousands of refugees into neighbouring DR Congo, says UN agency

G20 to Germany: Abandon miser policies

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

Grexit no longer a threat but how to manage a “tutti frutti” government if not with fear?

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

Scientists just got closer to making nuclear fusion work

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

European Union presents its progress towards sustainable development

Commission hardens its stance against carmakers ensuring emissions reductions targets

JADE at European Business Summit 2015

5 charts that explain big challenges facing Italy’s new government

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica: MEPs pursue personal data breaches probe

Mozambique: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom meets the child cyclone survivors who’ve lost everything

More accessible products and services for disabled and elderly people

The impossible end of the war in Syria

GDPR and the World Cup have these 4 things in common

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

Libya on verge of civil war, threatening ‘permanent division’, top UN official warns Security Council

DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ UN system, to help ‘end the outbreak’

G20 LIVE: “Re-envisioning the economy to enable women to reach their full potential” live from Antalya Turkey

Homicide kills far more people than armed conflict, new UN study shows

Challenges remain in DPRK despite ‘slight’ improvements in health, wellbeing: UNICEF

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Six steps that can help us to tackle homelessness

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

Praising Roma’s contributions in Europe, UN expert urges end to rising intolerance and hate speech

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s