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Parliamentary questions
1 July 2013
E-007772-13
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Amelia Andersdotter (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  e-Health projects in central and eastern Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic
 Answer(s) 

In central and eastern Europe, planned healthcare data digitisation systems are designed as centralised databases and are highly overpriced. In the Czech Republic, many doctors have criticised the IZIP system (an ‘electronic health booklet’) as not actually being built to help patients or doctors but rather to devour a large portion of the healthcare budget in an unnecessary project motivated by corruption(1). The system has even been deemed ‘broken by design’ by the association of patients of the Czech Republic(2).

Commissioner Neelie Kroes appears to be very supportive of (e-health) projects. But this process could present major threats to the protection of personal medical data, which are very sensitive for most people.

Also, such systems often involve the centralisation of data pertaining to millions of private healthcare patients, something which introduces new and grave risks with regard to potential security or data breaches. The risks are numerous, ranging from the blackmailing of system administrators, doctors or officials, to targeted organ harvesting, espionage, and deliberate, malicious alterations of patient files. The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre’s 2011 assessment states(3) that the five most common countries of origin for victims of human trafficking were Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Nigeria.

What concrete measures is the Commission undertaking to ensure that e-health projects carried out in Member States do not end up causing a risk to citizens for the reasons described above?

How does the Commission reconcile its policies on e-health with its policies against corruption in local administrations in Member States?

(1) http://zdravi.e15.cz/denni-zpravy/komentare/elektronizace-zdravotnictvi-se-ceskym-obcanum-krvave-vymsti-468211.
(2) http://www.parlamentnilisty.cz/zpravy/Svaz-pacientu-CR-Zdravotni-dokumentace-jako-byznys-172362.
(3) http://www.soca.gov.uk/about-soca/library/doc_download/400-soca-ukhtc-baseline-assessment.

 OJ C 56 E, 27/02/2014
Last updated: 17 July 2013Legal notice