06 May 2020

Experts and policymakers explore how unlocking European health data can help us fight diseases like COVID-19

On the 28th April DIGITALEUROPE held a webinar entitled ‘The Role of a European Health Data Space in a pandemic’. The event was attended by over 100 participants from the pharmaceutical, medical devices, and technology sectors and policy makers from the Member States, European Parliament and European Commission.

Director General of DIGITALEUROPE Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl moderated the discussion with Ioana-Maria Gligor, head of unit, DG SANTE along with speakers from our membership including Nigel Hughes, Scientific Director (J&J), Nazar Rasul, Head of Technology (Siemens Healthineers), Bert Verdonck, Leader Health Management (Philips), Frank Baitman, Global Head Digital Health Technologies (Roche), Cornelia Kutterer, Senior Director (Microsoft), and Mario Romao, Global Healthcare Policy Director (Intel).

The European Commission comments emphasised its commitment and initiatives to find solutions for health data to flow across borders in the EU and to ensure the secondary use of data for research can be used in accordance to the GDPR. Many speakers discussed the challenges the research community are facing to access data held within Member States that have different data protection regimes. In addition it was agreed we need to learn from the COVID situation to ensure the EU can be resilient for the next waves of the virus.

All industry speakers supported DIGITALEUROPE’s specific recommendations on the creation of an EU Code of Conduct on the primary and secondary use of health data. This includes:

  • establishing a one-stop-shop in each Member State to facilitate the secondary use of health data while preserving patient trust;
  • issuing EDPB guidance on GDPR interpretation by national Data Protection Authorities (DPAs);
  • and aligning local and national healthcare regulations with the GDPR to remove inconsistencies, fragmentation and accelerate vital data-driven delivery of care and cross-border research.
A full report can be found here
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