As the European Commission’s proposal for a European Health Data Space (EHDS) is still being negotiated, Ireland’s relevant preparations are already underway – with Dublin having made it clear that “sustainable investment” will be needed. The Irish government has officially stated that they are in close contact with their EU colleagues during the legislative process.
This involvement by Dublin highlights Ireland's commitment to building on the progress made during the Swedish Presidency in the context of EHDS. The Irish Digital Strategic Framework (2023-2030) aligns with this effort and is expected to be published soon. As the EHDS file advances and is poised to significantly impact access to health data, European policymakers have expressed concerns about its future launch, particularly as key elements such as the scope and use modalities of data are yet to be defined in the final text.
The official launch date of EHDS remains uncertain, with the European Commission targeting 2025, while the Parliament and the Council anticipate a timeframe ranging from three to ten years.
Some key highlights include Dublin's active participation in EU-level discussions to advance Irish interests both at the EU and national levels, with national legislation like the Irish Health Information Bill being developed in accordance with EHDS regulations. In response to a Parliamentary question in July, Ireland's Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, expressed the government's ongoing support for eHealth through increased funding for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and eHealth.
The EHDS holds substantial potential for Europe's health data economy, with the potential to deliver €5.5 billion in savings for the EU over a 10-year period through improved access and exchange of health data. Dr. Sinead Keogh, Director at Ibec MedTech & Engineering, highlighted the close collaboration between the Irish MedTech Association and MedTech Europe in preparation for EHDS and considered sectoral regulation a crucial milestone on the EU's "Path to Digital Decade 2030."