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Health experts make recommendations on EHDS implementation

18th April 2024

Enhanced commitment, awareness, and collaboration are needed to realise the full potential of the European Health Data Space (EHDS), according to experts from across the European Union.

The EHDS is designed to deliver an EU-wide system for citizens’ health data, to improve care across borders. The European Commission hopes it will also boost opportunities for research by supplying academics and industry with reams of health data to study.

In our new Think Tank report, launched live today during a dynamic panel discussion at EIT Health Summit in Rotterdam, experts across the European Union looked at potential hurdles and solutions under six dimensions of implementation:

  1. Governance
  2. Capacity and skills
  3. Resources and funding
  4. Data quality
  5. Closing the loop: The relation between primary and secondary use
  6. Awareness, education and communication: Towards a data-driven culture in healthcare

Implementing the European Health Data Space across Europe” was published following a series of roundtable discussions involving leaders from public health, healthcare, and health data economics. The insights were consolidated in late 2023, before the provision

The experts found that the EHDS has the potential to revolutionise European healthcare, but without adequate funding, this potential may remain unrealised.

As Europe strives to strengthen its position as a global leader in healthcare innovation, it is imperative that adequate resources are allocated to initiatives such as EHDS to drive progress and improve the health and well-being of European citizens.

Experts believe that current funding is currently misaligned with the ambition outlined by the Commission and the financial commitment from some member countries falls short of the necessary level to support healthcare and infrastructure developments.

Amongst other recommendations, the report advises member states to increase their commitment to funding EHDS initiatives to ensure its success and maximise its impact on healthcare outcomes across Europe.

The experts also found that the scale and timeline of the EHDS “will require the buy-in and cooperation of stakeholders across politics, healthcare, research, industry and civil society”.

They found that understanding amongst key stakeholders and public acceptance was generally low, particularly on the relationship between primary and secondary data use.

The report recommends concerted public awareness-raising efforts on the contents and rationale of the regulation, particularly surrounding the use of data to drive critical innovation in the sector.

To close the loop on primary and secondary data use, the report recommends health data access bodies should “facilitate data traceability to foster trust in the new outputs and technologies to be fed back into healthcare”.

The EIT Health Think Tank report provides practical recommendations for the actors leading the transformation at local, national and EU levels to ensure a harmonised and inclusive European approach.

The EHDS is a high-stakes development with significant transformative potential, and this report provides crucial insights for those involved in its implementation, including EU and national policymakers, health data access bodies, and healthcare providers.

EIT Health reaffirms its commitment to EHDS’s objectives and stands ready to contribute its expertise, resources, and networks to facilitate its implementation. Through collective efforts and strategic investments, EHDS has the potential to transform healthcare delivery and drive positive health outcomes for all European citizens.

Download your copy of the report now.

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