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

PressRelease: “Today, 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….

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

  • Better access to and reusability of public sector data: A revised law on Public Sector Information covers data held by public undertakings in transport and utilities sectors. The new rules limit the exceptions that allow public bodies to charge more than the marginal costs of data dissemination for the reuse of their data. They also facilitate the reusability of open research data resulting from public funding, and oblige Member States to develop open access policies. Finally, the new rules require – where applicable – technical solutions like Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to provide real-time access to data.
  • Scientific data sharing in 2018: new set of recommendations address the policy and technological changes since the last Commission proposal on access to and preservation of scientific information. They offer guidance on implementing open access policies in line with open science objectives, research data and data management, the creation of a European Open Science Cloud, and text and data-mining. They also highlight the importance of incentives, rewards, skills and metrics appropriate for the new era of networked research.
  • Private sector data sharing in business-to-business and business-to-governments contexts: A new Communication entitled “Towards a common European data space” provides guidance for businesses operating in the EU on the legal and technical principles that should govern data sharing collaboration in the private sector.
  • Securing citizens’ healthcare data while fostering European cooperation: The Commission is today setting out a plan of action that puts citizens first when it comes to data on citizens’ health: by securing citizens’ access to their health data and introducing the possibility to share their data across borders; by using larger data sets to enable more personalised diagnoses and medical treatment, and better anticipate epidemics; and by promoting appropriate digital tools, allowing public authorities to better use health data for research and for health system reforms. Today’s proposal also covers the interoperability of electronic health records as well as a mechanism for voluntary coordination in sharing data – including genomic data – for disease prevention and research….(More)”.