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Parliamentary questions
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12 April 2017
E-000577/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000577/2017

The Commission aims at facilitating the cross-border exchange of health data between Member States through the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI) that is currently being developed by a group of Member States. The eHDSI, which is being built with the financial support of the Connecting Europe Facility, will support the exchange of Patient Summaries (summary of Electronic Health Record) and ePrescriptions thereby guaranteeing the continuity of healthcare for patients travelling or living outside their Member State of origin.

Moreover, it will be especially useful for patients with chronic diseases allowing for prescriptions to be received anywhere in the EU. It should be noted that eHDSI does not collect data but enables it to be accessed across borders. The first exchanges are expected to take place in 2018.

As concerns data related to the health of an individual, attention has to be paid to the specific protection given to such data under the Data Protection Directive(1) and the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)(2). Health-related data constitute a special category of personal data. It is generally prohibited to process such data, other than under one of the specified conditions as set out in the data protection rules (.e.g. for reasons of public interest in the area of public health(3)) and in line with all the data protection principles, i.a., purpose limitation, data minimisation, storage limitation.

Like the directive, the GDPR bans prohibitions or restrictions to the free movement of personal data for reasons connected with the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data.

(1)Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data.
(2)Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (Text with EEA relevance), OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1‐88.
(3)See Article 8 of Directive 95/46/EC and Article 9 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

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