by Thomas Dworetzky
, Contributing Reporter | May 16, 2022
A binding proposal has been announced by the European Commission in an effort to ease access to health data throughout the multinational community.
The plan's timetable is aiming to be in place by 2025.
"Sharing data will save lives," said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides, according to Reuters
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Improving access and interoperability in digital health data should make for better diagnoses, and cut costs from unneeded and duplicate testing — as well as help medical researchers access a trove of medical data.
It should also save money. The EU proposal could save around 10 billion euros ($10.51 billion) over a decade. For example, patients in the EU now waste as much as 1.4 billion euros each year on “unnecessary medical images,” according to the Brussels proposal, which estimated that nearly one in 10 X-rays and ultrasound tests are “usually duplications of existing valid images,” according to the news agency.
Expanding the use of electronic prescriptions will also lead to big savings — and lead to fewer errors in drug delivery.
The plan would require healthcare providers to employ digital EHRs that are interoperable thanks to compatible formats, and the information would be available to patients, providers, researchers and regulators.
Along with this approach, the proposal also stipulated that the rules need to be strict concerning data privacy and that cybersecurity needs to be boosted — especially with growing and ongoing hacking threats that threaten the entire global healthcare community.
The report stressed the opportunities inherent in the digitalization initiative it has dubbed a “European Health Data Space.”
“This project will be built on the foundations of secure and trustworthy access to data that is fully in line with the fundamental values underpinning EU,” it noted, adding that it is “an opportunity to empower us all, as individuals, to profit from stronger rights and safeguards over our health data.”
By making access to and sharing of health data easier, it will cut down on redoing tests, while facilitating innovation and the development of new treatments, new vaccines and personalized medicine.