For or against: should we worry about the creation of a European Health Data Area?

NO / “It is imperative to succeed in the” prevention revolution “

Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve, co-founder and CEO of Alan

The health crisis has shown the importance of reliable, accessible, homogeneous health data: management of the acute phase of the epidemic (how many patients screened or hospitalized?), Development and administration of vaccines, up to monitoring potential effects secondary … The medical data was crucial. It is in this context that the European Commission publishes its draft legal framework for a European Health Data Area (EHDS). We must resolutely take this path, subject to strong guarantees of security, consent and confidentiality.

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The creation of EHDS will be a step forward both for the citizens, who will be masters of their data, and for the patients: the intended space is the essential platform for enabling the sharing of essential data between care providers (to reduce duplicate prescriptions, simplify administration) and improve the quality of care through the availability of information. It is also a crucial opportunity for research: the implemented framework will enable the “real life” study of large cohorts of patients to monitor the effect of treatments, identify side effects … The future of health systems will go through “prevention “revolution” that we will not achieve without large-scale quality data available under clear rules: that is what will enable us in Europe to create services of a kind that limit the explosion of risk factors and chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease).

Final progress for Europe. At a time when new epidemics are feared, citizens want concrete tools to regain control of their health. By establishing a European space for health data, the EU has the ability to establish itself as a model for democratic governance in public health compared to competing areas (USA, China, in the first instance), with all the economic issues involved.

YES / “Transmission and use of this sensitive data must be regulated”

Bernard Benhamou, Secretary General of the Institute of Digital Sovereignty

The European Health Data Center is a strategic project that will provide researchers with access to data from the various stakeholders to improve artificial intelligence systems for diagnosis and treatment. It must also make it possible to accelerate the shift from health economics to prevention. But it will be necessary to ensure that these transformations do not call into question our social protection, in favor of a hyper-individualization of health coverage or a hyper-control of individuals. Above all, it will be necessary to monitor the transmission and use of this sensitive data.

Health data is already a primary goal for technology groups. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft or even Facebook are investing heavily in their treatment. The attack on Microsoft Exchange servers is a recent example of competition in this area. Cybersecurity experts initially thought it was industrial espionage. But for the Chinese attackers – when it came to them – the goal was to recover the structured documents from millions of companies, to train their own artificial intelligence systems, so that they could give an edge over their American or European competitors. In addition to cyber attacks, EHDS will need to protect these sensitive data from foreign intelligence services, which are able to get them through ultra-confidential requests approved by FISA law. (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). This question continues to arise for the French health data platform (or Health Data Hub) currently hosted by Microsoft Azure.

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Data protection, but also the ethical conditions under which they will be used, will form the cornerstone of EHDS.


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