In the upcoming Committee vote on creating a European Health Data Space (EHDS) on 28 November, the European Parliament wants to support the mandatory registration of every treatment of a patient in a remotely accessible Electronic Health Record. EU governments also want to endorse a compulsory Electronic Health Record for everyone, possibly as early as 6 December in the so-called COREPER Committee. Patients would be able to restrict data access, but not the electronic collection of summaries of all medical treatments.
“The EU’s planned mandatory electronic patient file with Europe-wide access entails irresponsible risks of theft or loss of the most personal therapeutical data and threatens to deprive patients of any control over the digitisation of their health data,” criticises Patrick Breyer, Pirate Party MEP and chief negotiator for the Greens/European Free Alliance group in the EU Parliament’s Committee on Home Affairs (LIBE). “Have we learnt nothing from the international hacker attacks on hospitals and other health data? If every mental illness, substance abuse therapy, every potency weakness and all abortions are compulsorily recorded, concerned patients may be deterred from seeking urgent medical treatment altogether – this can make people ill. This legislation has been designed for health industry, not to empower citizens.”
The plenary of the European Parliament is due to vote on the Committee recommendation in December and can make final amendments. A survey by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has shown that 44% of citizens are concerned about the risk of health data theft; 40% fear unauthorised access to their data.