Data in the EU: Commission Steps Up Efforts to Increase Availability and Boost Healthcare Data Sharing

European CommissionThe European Commission is putting forward a set of measures to increase the availability of data in the EU, building on previous initiatives to boost the free flow of non-personal data in the Digital Single Market. Data-driven innovation is a key enabler of market growth, job creation, particularly for SMEs and startups, and the development of new technologies. It allows citizens to easily access and manage their health data, and allows public authorities to use data better in research, prevention and health system reforms.

Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: "The Digital Single Market is rapidly taking shape; but without data, we will not make the most of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and other technological advances. These technologies can help us to improve healthcare and education, transport networks and make energy savings: this is what the smart use of data is all about. Our proposal will free up more public sector data for re-use, including for commercial purposes, driving down the cost of access to data and helping us to create a common data space in the EU that will stimulate our growth."

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added: "With today's Communication we are pursuing an ambitious plan, the Digital Single Market Strategy, to make sure that we are in the best possible position to help our businesses, provide top-class research, and protect EU citizens. Citizens and businesses will have access to better products and services as more and more data become available for data-driven innovation."

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said: "Our proposals make use of the full potential of digital technologies to improve healthcare and medical research. This will lead to easier access to health data, which will lead to better disease prevention and patient-centred care, rapid responses to pandemic threats, and improved treatments."

The proposals build on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will enter into application as of 25 May 2018. They will ensure:

  • Securing citizens' healthcare data while fostering European cooperation: The Commission is today setting out a plan of action that puts citizens first when it comes to data on citizens' health: by securing citizens' access to their health data and introducing the possibility to share their data across borders; by using larger data sets to enable more personalised diagnoses and medical treatment, and better anticipate epidemics; and by promoting appropriate digital tools, allowing public authorities to better use health data for research and for health system reforms. The proposal also covers the interoperability of electronic health records as well as a mechanism for voluntary coordination in sharing data - including genomic data - for disease prevention and research.

The initiatives complement the framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU presented by the Commission in September 2017 and which still needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and Member States.

For further information, please visit:
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/european-policy-ehealth

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