The European strategy for data proposed the establishment of domain-specific common European data spaces. The European Health Data Space (‘EHDS’) is the first proposal of such domain-specific common European data spaces. It will address health-specific challenges to electronic health data access and sharing, is one of the priorities of the European Commission in the area of health and will be an integral part of building a European Health Union. EHDS will create a common space where natural persons can easily control their electronic health data. It will also make it possible for researchers, innovators and policy makers to use this electronic health data in a trusted and secure way that preserves privacy.
Digital transformation / health and care (communication) - Related Opinions
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The liberal professions are already very successful in using digital and artificial intelligence applications for the benefit of their clients, and are at the forefront of their technological development. They must continue to be more closely enlisted in the development and validation process in future in order to ensure applications are usable in practice and effective. The liberal professions need to update the content of training in order to ensure their own IT and digital skills and those of their employees are of the highest possible quality standard. The creation of new professions made possible by digitalisation should be encouraged, on the basis of the criteria and principles set out in the Rome Manifesto.
The Commission proposes a new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. It is a patient-centred strategy that aims to ensure the quality and safety of medicines, while boosting the sector’s global competitiveness. The EU needs to make sure that patients have access to high-quality, effective and safe medicines. It will foster patient access to innovative and affordable medicines. It will support the competitiveness and innovative capacity of the EU’s pharmaceutical industry.
The annual Union work programme for European standardisation for 2020 identifies priorities for European standardisation. The EESC agrees with the Commission that standardisation is crucial to the strategy for the single market and that it should be constantly updated. Moreover, the EESC considers that there is an urgent need to modernise the European standardisation system to meet global challenges with an innovative process of cooperation.
This opinion calls on the EU to develop a strategy to enhance continuous, learner-centred learning, with digitalisation and the deployment of trustworthy AI at its heart, and stresses the essential role of both public education and non-formal education to enhance inclusiveness and active citizenship. Such a strategy requires an increased allocation of EU funds and more cooperation between policymakers, education providers, social partners and other civil society organisations.
In this opinion, the EESC notes that the measures taken by the EU Member States to address the challenge of an ageing workforce remain isolated and their impact has not been gauged. Therefore, the EESC highlights the need for comprehensive strategies, to deal with the demographic and employment challenges in a holistically manner.
The Committee also issues concrete recommendations to encourage longer active working lives.
The own-initiative opinion presents the EESC’s views on the gaps in the current system and indicates potential measures for a European wide push for digital up-skilling of health and care workers, and also for policies that prevent further digital divides by addressing skill gaps in the population at large. This own-initiative opinion is in part a follow-up to the own-initiative opinion entitled "Towards digital health".
The EESC agrees that the aim of sustainable cooperation on health technology assessment (HTA) at EU level is to ensure that all the EU countries can benefit from efficiency gains, thus maximising added value; and believes that the proposal should benefit SMEs, as well as social economy enterprises operating in the sector, by reducing the current administrative burden and compliance costs linked to submissions of multiple dossiers to meet different national HTA requirements.
The EESC believes that equal access to healthcare, one of the main objectives of health policies, can benefit from digital support provided certain conditions are met: equal geographical coverage; bridging the digital divide; interoperability among the various components of the digital architecture (databases, medical devices); and protection of health data which must under no circumstances be used to the detriment of patients. The EESC highlights the need to develop and facilitate people's digital health literacy to encourage a critical approach to health information and to support the development of a nomenclature of reimbursable treatments and wellbeing services
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