The Time is Now For a European Health System

Without doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a dire need for an integrated European health system. Although, there are those who may be dubious about their health data being accessed and shared, I argue that it is an utmost necessity for progress of both medicine and European integration.

The European Commission has already taken steps towards such an aim with a proposal for a regulation on the European Health Data Space this year. High on the agenda is an alignment and protection of personal data and the governing GDPR act. This can be seen as the proposed regulation and holds that when possible, anonymised health data will be used. This would certainly be seen to be in line with Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It would also ease any contention between the right to privacy and the right to health. To further ensure standards are not compromised, researchers have called for soft
law mechanisms to be enacted such as a Code of Conduct. Undoubtedly, this would ensure compliance and that high standards are kept when accessing your health data.

The proposed regulation has been welcomed by an overwhelming majority as it is universally known that ‘safe, efficient and sustainable healthcare systems are highly dependent on data’[Assessment of the EU Member States’ rules on health data in light of GDPR public]. It is a difficult feat to balance the health of one individual against the needs of a majority. However, if your health data could inform, educate and ensure better responsiveness for others, do you not feel it is imperative for such a regulation? Of course cyberattacks are something to be wary of. However, this concern is consistently addressed by the EU. It will be legally strengthened in the future with the recent proposal of The European Cyber Resilience Act.

The proposed European Health Data Space is a necessary first step towards a European health system. It will integrate Europe further as it removes barriers to cross-border use of health data. Indisputably, it will strengthen the fundamental freedoms of movement of goods, people and services.

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