The European Commission has responded to questions raised by a member of the European Parliament in relation to the free movement of data in the EU, in particular health data. The questions raised were:

  • What are the main issues and concerns for the commission with regard to the free movement of data?
  • How does the EU intend to remove the existing barriers to the free movement of health data across the borders of member states?
  • What are the commission’s priorities with regard to e-health policy and planning in the context of the soon-to-be-realised European single digital market?

The European Commission stated that obstacles to the free movement of personal data included “outdated or disproportionate regulatory requirements for keeping certain kinds of data within specific member states or regions”; “uncertainty about the legal regimes applicable to data which inhibits intra-EU flow of data”; and a “general lack of trust in the use of e-services, especially in a crossborder context”. It also stated that it is working with member states to “ensure that citizens can transfer their basic medical information electronically when receiving treatment in another member state and use e-prescriptions to get their medication dispensed”. Finally, it intends to adopt a communication in 2017 addressing the need and scope for further measures in the area of digital health and care, in line with the GDPR and legislation on patient rights and e-identification.