Which measures are needed to promote digital innovation that improves people’s health? The European Commission has posed this and other questions to interested parties in a Public Consultation on Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market.
The GKV-Spitzenverband (National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds) stated in its response (only available in German) that, fundamentally, digitalisation has great potential for health and care. Exchanging treatment data and cross-border prescriptions can be helpful in advancing health research, preventing diseases and treating patients.
Data security has the highest priority for cross-border data exchange
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is an EU funding programme for infrastructure which can be used to promote the cross-border exchange of electronic patient files and prescriptions. The GKV-Spitzenverband supports this measure as long as it promotes patient health. However, it has stressed that this network must not interfere too much with national systems and must meet the highest requirements in data protection and data security. It must be ensured that the system clearly and reliably identifies persons accessing the data, that services and benefits received in other countries are authorised, and that the confidentiality of health data is guaranteed.
The role of the EU in this process
According to the GKV-Spitzenverband, the EU already supports and facilitates cooperation between the Member States through the voluntary eHealth Network. The aim of this network is to encourage the exchange of data and ensure the interoperability of applications, as well as to formulate minimum requirements for electronic health records. Furthermore, the GKV-Spitzenverband does not see any need for data access and data exchange at EU level. Instead, the EU should promote the exchange of health data between the Member States through good practices.
A synopsis of the consultation responses will be published within one month of the consultation closing. In addition, the Commission will present a communication on Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market by the end of 2017.