Putting the “E” in e-Health

STOA conduct technology assessment and scientific foresight projects and organises events, the last of which was e-health. Panellists considered the necessity of undertaking digitalization of health within the EU. With the Covid-19 pandemic as a backdrop, they explored existing limits on sharing health data, one of which is data protection and the need for compliance with GDPR. Another limitation is technical, i.e., whether EU MS have the technical resources to share health data, although creation of the European Covid-19 vaccination certificate has shown it is possible to coordinate and cooperate in this regard.


Estonia has the best electronic public administration in the world and 99% of citizens have electronic medical records. However, the same is not true for most EU citizens and it does not make sense that citizens enjoy freedom of movement, but health records stop at the border, or even locally. Why is a prescription issued in Belgium not valid in the Netherlands? The panel agreed on the need for “data health activism”, making people aware of their rights, and welcomed creation of the European Health Data Space (EHDS), an ambitious initiative to create a common space for better healthcare, research, and policy-making.

The Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) is an integral part of the structure of the European Parliament, providing high-quality and scientifically impartial information and identifying options for the best courses of action. “Putting the E in e-Health” is comprised of Ain Aaviksoo, Chief Health Officer (Guardtime, EE), Henrique Martins, Associate Professor in Health Management and Leadership (University of Lisboa, PT), Anett Numa, Digital Transformation Adviser (e-Estonia Briefing Centre, EE), and Ioana-Maria Gligor, DG for Health and Food Safety, European Commission. The discussion was moderated by Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament and STOA Panel member.

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