Digital Single MarketCommission promotes exchange of electronic health files within EU

The Commission adopted recommendations for the Member States on cross-border exchanges of electronic health records (EHRs) today to ensure a secure and seamless handling of health data in the EU. This implies that consumers could access their medical records when consulting healthcare professionals abroad.

These are further details:

  • The Commission would develop the needed infrastructure for this Pan-European exchange format while Member States are asked to adjust their laws accordingly and to make electronic health records accessible and exchangeable across borders.

  • Health records in question cover categories such as laboratory tests, medical discharge reports and images as well as imaging reports.

The European Consumer Organization BEUC critically pointed out that the highly sensitive nature of health data and its exchange comes with privacy and security risks:

  • For EHRs to be in line with the General Data Protection Regulation, consumers should have control over their personal data as to decide how and whom to share it with. For instance, patients should also be able have inaccurate data deleted.

  • Robust IT security at EU and national level against hacking or cyberattacks has to be at the core of EHRs.

  • Consumer trust in electronic health records is important and requires solid authentication systems that ensure only authorized and specifically trained health care professionals have access.

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, noted: "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 personalized 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.”

Source: BEUC & European Commission

More information and the Commission press release