European privacy regulators want stricter rules for sharing medical data

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European privacy regulators recommend amending a law regarding the sharing of health data. The regulators want the rules to be straightened out more with the GDPR and want clarity about what happens to that data.

Advice has been prepared by the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor. These are the umbrella organization of privacy regulators and the European regulator itself, respectively. The authorities have both written an opinion on the European Health Data Space, a legislative proposal from the European Commission. This determines what may be done with health data. The EC wants to expand the possibilities of what that data may be used for and by whom. The bill stipulates that medical data can also be used for scientific research and for the treatment of other persons within Europe.

In the first place, the regulators say they are satisfied with the bill. They do think that the proposal needs to be improved on some points.

In the first place, the regulators find the law too confusing in relation to other local or European privacy laws, such as the GDPR. The bill adds yet another layer to the already complex health data processing legislation the Dutch Data Protection Authority, one of the members of the EDPB. “That is why it is important that the relationship between the European Health Data Space and the GDPR, the national legislation in European member states and other European legislative proposals is clear. That is not the case now.”

Another point is that it is not always clear from the law for which purposes the data may be used. That should be written more clearly. Finally, the regulators want to lay down in law that the data will only be processed within the EU and not outside the continent.

Experiments with the use of patient data are already underway in various Dutch hospitals. These are shared anonymously with other institutions. At the end of 2020, Tweakers spoke with the Dutch Association for Intensive Cares about that plan.

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