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Health data and data management are crucial when it comes to empowering citizens and building a healthier society. The European Commission adopted a Communication and a Staff Working Document on Digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market to boost European Union action.

Medicine doctor hand touching computer interface as medical network connection with modern virtual screen, medical technology network concept

Secure access to health data

The first priority of the Communication on Digital Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market focuses on citizens' secure access to their health data, also when they are abroad. The goal is to make it possible for citizens to exercise their right to access their health data across the EU, including, inter alia, the interoperability of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems.

Personalised medicine through shared European data infrastructure

The second priority of the Communication stresses the importance of personalised medicine through shared European data infrastructure. Researchers and other professionals should pool resources (data, expertise, computing processing and storage capacities) across the EU, for better health prevention, faster and more personalised diagnosis and treatment. In order to achieve this, authorities and other stakeholders share data and infrastructure for prevention and personalised medicine research and treatment.

Genomic data

On Digital Day 2018 (10 April 2018) 13 EU countries signed a declaration for delivering cross-border access to their genomic information. They aim to provide access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022.

Citizen empowerment

Finally, the third priority targets the empowerment citizens with digital tools for user feedback and person-centred care. This empowers people to look after their health, stimulating prevention, and enabling feedback and interaction between users and healthcare providers.

Improved research and treatment

Access to healthcare data helps researchers to produce more accurate, faster tests on medicines to be launched on the market. The EU-funded AirPROM project for example helped developing a breakthrough pill against asthma, with the use of digital airway models to predict both disease progression and response to treatment. The research and the development of the pill went much faster and more efficient than normal. It is estimated that about 20 years were saved.

Through the use of big data, researchers can help health care professionals and health policy makers to identify, simulate, select and monitor the effectiveness of current and new treatments. Examples of projects are:

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