Data in the EU: Commission steps up efforts to increase availability and boost healthcare data sharing

The European Commission is putting forward a set of measures to increase the availability of data in the EU, building on previous initiatives to boost the free flow of non-personal data in the Digital Single Market.

Data-driven innovation is a key enabler of market growth, job creation, particularly for SMEs and startups, and the development of new technologies. It allows citizens to easily access and manage their health data, and allows public authorities to use data better in research, prevention and health system reforms.

Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “The Digital Single Market is rapidly taking shape; but without data, we will not make the most of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and other technological advances. These technologies can help us to improve healthcare and education, transport networks and make energy savings: this is what the smart use of data is all about. Our proposal will free up more public sector data for re-use, including for commercial purposes, driving down the cost of access to data and helping us to create a common data space in the EU that will stimulate our growth.”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added: “With today’s Communication we are pursuing an ambitious plan, the Digital Single Market Strategy, to make sure that we are in the best possible position to help our businesses, provide top-class research, and protect EU citizens. Citizens and businesses will have access to better products and services as more and more data become available for data-driven innovation.”

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “Our proposals make use of the full potential of digital technologies to improve healthcare and medical research. This will lead to easier access to health data, which will lead to better disease prevention and patient-centred care, rapid responses to pandemic threats, and improved treatments.”

Today’s proposals build on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will enter into application as of 25 May 2018.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA727816.

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