Proposals to build a European Health Data Space (EHDS) have received a warm welcome from digital health start-ups, which are frustrated by obstacles to scaling-up within Europe. If the plan succeeds in harmonising electronic health data between EU member states, it will already have done these entrepreneurs a huge favour.
“Harmonising Europe-wide processes for sharing and accessing health data is the cornerstone for digital health start-up innovation,” said Benedikt Blomeyer, EU policy director at Allied for Startups, a Brussels lobby group that has taken a close interest in the proposals. “The EHDS has the opportunity to become the runway for start-ups to scale-up in the EU once, not 27 times.”
But gaps and uncertainties in the proposals may yet put a dent in the innovation gains foreseen by the Commission. For example, who will make reluctant healthcare providers release their data? And who will pay the costs of setting the data free?
The headline aim of the EHDS is to make electronic health data more accessible across the EU. This will give patients full control over their health records, so that they can get better healthcare at home and abroad. It will also create a framework for the secondary use of electronic health data, under strict security and privacy conditions.
Article written by Ian Mundell.