During the event, 5 panelists from the Commission, industry and academia gave insights on the opportunities, barriers and concerns related to the use of digital technologies in the healthcare sector.
Miguel González-Sancho (Head of Unit H.3. “eHealth, Wellbeing & Ageing”, DG CNECT,
European Commission) outlined three priorities for the European Union (EU) in
- Cooperation at EU level
personalised medicine and creating infrastructure that allows data sharing
- Citizen empowerment
Based on the public consultation on Health and Care in the Digital Single
Market carried out in 2017, the Commission will soon publish policy
recommendations on the sharing of patient data across borders.
Following Mr. González-Sancho’s
presentation, the panelists raised the following concerns:
- Cory Robinson (Assistant Professor
in Communication Design at Linköping University) pointed out that with the
rapid scientific and technology developments, the question we have to
answer now is how legislation can keep up with these developments.
Sensitive personal data is increasingly utilised, e.g. some banks already
introduced heart beat data for online banking instead of PIN numbers. How
can we ensure that patients remain at the centre of care?
- Similarly, Lars
Lundberg (policy expert, IT & Telekomföretagen - a Swedish trade
association) stated that since such innovations change the business model
of the healthcare sector, this shift must be supported by
- Meni Styliadou (Vice
President, Head of External Affairs Europe & Canada, Takeda
Pharmaceuticals) emphasised the fact that data can be a catalyst, but
standards need to be developed. In this regard, it is critical to have
entities that manage and compare health outcome data, she stated. These
entities should be based on public-private partnerships no avoid the
monetisation of health data.
- Paul De Raeve (Secretary
General, European Federation of Nurses Associations) highlighted the
importance of community participation, trust and patient-centeredness when
it comes to e-health.
The soon-to-be-published Commission Communication on the sharing of
patient data across borders, which is a non-binding policy paper, will provide
recommendations to address this challenge and to promote digital innovation in
improving people’s health. In particular, the Communication will focus on:
- Citizens’ secure access to electronic health records
and the possibility to share these across borders;
- Creating data infrastructure to advance research,
prevent disease and personalise health and care in key areas;
- Facilitating feedback and interaction between patients
and healthcare providers, enhancing disease prevention and empowering
people to take responsibility for the management of their own health.