The Joint Declaration

Towards a common European health dataspace in times of COVID-19
Bottlenecks and Solutions from a cluster perspective

ScanBalt declaration “Towards a common European health data space in the time of Covid-19 and beyond”

Against the background of the beginning COVID-19 pandemic, Europe’s science and research regions have taken an inventory of the digitisation of European health systems and formulated a “Joint Declaration” about the necessary next steps to create a common European Health Data Space. The declaration calls on the European Union to finally create a reliable legal framework for the cross-border exchange of health data. This is the only way for a pan-European solution to the current pandemic.

Today’s ever-increasing infection rates in all European Member States underline the importance of their findings. It is now time to act: The “lessons learned from the first wave of the pandemic” need to be applied immediately. The cluster organizations see themselves as representatives of civil society offering concrete solutions for the current COVID 19 crisis.

The ScanBalt Declaration clearly shows that the European Health Data Space has long been a reality – the challenge now is to meaningfully interlink the functioning regional initiatives and create a reliable legal framework for them.

The Declaration brings together countries known for their innovative digital health system as well as from regions where the pressure of corona infections has greatly accelerated existing digital care approaches. The input for this declaration comes from more than 30 cluster regions from 15 countries like Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, the UK, Austria, Germany and Poland.

In the declaration, the European experts propose concrete measures, such as:

  • All European citizens should retain control over their health data according to GDPR and be able to share them in a secure way with authorised partners.
  • The EU must extend its harmonization and interoperability efforts to data relevant to promote research, prevention and personalized care.
    • The EU needs a clearing agency for digital health applications in the fields of infectious diseases and control – under the umbrella of the ECDC
  • To achieve faster digitization of hospitals incentive systems modelled on the US government’s “meaningful use” program are recommended
  • To overcome the deployment gap of digital health in Europe, the establishment of a biennial research-based EU-wide monitoring-report on best practice examples is recommendable.

Please find the declaration:

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