‘European patient record gives citizens more control over their own data’

The aim of the European patient record is to give European citizens greater control over accessing and sharing their health data. It should also promote scientific research, innovation and policy. As soon as more details about the bill are known, the House of Representatives will be informed.

That is what the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Ernst Kuipers wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives.

European Commission presents legislative proposal for European Health Union

At the beginning of May, the European Commission presented a bill for a European electronic health record, also known as the European Health Data Space (EHDS). In this way, the executive board of the EU wants to give healthcare specialists access to anonymized medical data to research new treatments, vaccines and medicines.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, called the bill “a historic step forward towards digital healthcare in the EU”.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, also has high hopes for the EHDS. “The European Health Data Area will be a new start for the EU’s digital health policy, putting health data at the service of citizens and science.”

Kuipers: ‘There is no question of a European patient file or central repository’

The European Commission’s bill came as a big surprise to Judith Tielen and Queeny Rajkowski (both VVD). They believe that it “does not solve any urgent and major European problem”. The members of the House of Representatives, therefore, decided to submit a number of written questions to Minister Kuipers of Public Health. They wondered, among other things, why the House had not been informed about the European bill.

Minister Kuipers has answered the questions from Tielen and Rajkowski. In a letter to the House of Representatives, he wrote that the European electronic health record has two goals: to give citizens more control over their own medical data and to stimulate scientific research.

“In order for citizens to be able to exercise these rights, a number of aspects must be met. These aspects are further elaborated in the proposal addressing the availability of health data in the provision of care (primary use) so that the right care can be delivered in the right place at the right time anywhere in the EU,” said the minister. Coopers.

He emphasizes that nowhere in the bill is there any mention of a European patient record or a central repository for medical data.

Bill respects GDPR

The bill also includes measures to guarantee product safety and interoperability. This not only guarantees the security of European citizens’ medical data but also gives them more control over their own health data. According to the minister, the option to use anonymous health data for scientific research is in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The House of Representatives receives more information about the bill via a so-called BNC file. ‘BNC’ stands for Assessment of New Commission Proposals. This is a document from the Dutch government in which MPs are updated about a bill from the European Commission. In it, the government also explains what is known about the European field of influence regarding the bill.

Treatment of Wegiz postponed due to European bill

The VVD members wondered whether the European Commission’s bill was the reason why the plenary discussion of the Electronic Data Exchange in Healthcare Act (Wegiz) was postponed. Minister Kuipers confirms this. “I think it is important that this European development is also taken into account in the preparation for the plenary discussion of the Wegiz,” said the minister.

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