The creation of the European Health Data Space will allow citizens to share health data such as their medical history with doctors and hospitals in all member states, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides explained to CNA on the occasion of the announcement of the proposal submitted by the European Commission for adoption by the Council and the European Parliament.
"Starting today we are one step closer to the European Health Union", Kyriakides noted, describing the European Health Data Space as the "backbone" of this policy area.
"Health in Europe is becoming more interconnected and integrated, for the benefit of citizens in particular, but also for the benefit of researchers and the European health industry,"
"This important new initiative of the European Health Data Space will enable citizens to share health data, such as their medical history, test results or prescriptions, with hospitals and doctors within and between Member States," Kyriakides explained.
"If a Cypriot travels to Germany and falls ill there, the local doctor will be able to access his medical history, in German, and prescribe the necessary medicine for him. If a cancer patient needs medication that the oncologist in Cyprus has prescribed for him, he will be able to get it in any part of Europe," she said.
"Health in Europe is becoming more interconnected and integrated, for the benefit of citizens in particular, but also for the benefit of researchers and the European health industry," the Commissioner stressed.
Kyriakides also said that by 2020 the European Health Union "includes a plethora of initiatives that not only put the patient at the center, but make our Union more resilient and more capable of dealing with crises and long-term challenges, such as equal access to medicines, optimal cancer care, vaccine and medicine stockpiling."
At a press conference from Strasbourg, Commissioner Kyriakides and Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said that EHDS will be a quantum leap forward in the way Europeans receive healthcare, will empower citizens to utilize their data in other Member States, and will help develop a genuine single market for digital health products and services, while providing an efficient and consistent network for the use of health data in research and innovation.
In particular, the new framework provides for the establishment of a common European standard for the recording of patients' medical records, prescriptions and other data, and electronic health systems should now be interoperable with each other. Each Member State will also have to designate a specific digital health authority.
A legal framework is also being created for the use of health data in research and innovation and in policymaking, setting conditions for researchers and businesses to access this data. Access will be regulated by the competent body for health data, only for specific purposes, in closed environments and with the protection of the identity of the person concerned.