EU Committee

European Health Data Space

Location: Online Webinar
Access: Everybody
Fee for members: 0
Fee for non-members: 0
For the launch of the new BritCham Healthcare Committee, and its first event, the Chamber welcomed Mr Markus Kalliola, Project Director at Sitra and Coordinator of the Joint Action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) and Ms Rosie Richards, Head of Digital Policy at the NHS European Office to the event ‘European Health Data Space’. They discussed the recent developments regarding the Commissions proposal of a European Health Data Space and the impact it could have on different sectors.

The event kicked off with an introduction of the European Health Data Space described as one of the key priorities in Health Policy for the European Commission this term. The proposal, though primarily a health proposal, will have a cross-sector effect and will therefore require much preparation. Whenever there is a new proposal from the European Commission on this scale, stakeholders take coordinated joint action to avoid duplication and optimise synergies. In this way, TEHDAS will run for 30 months coordinating between 25 participating countries, to help prepare for the European Health Data Space.

Having discussed TEHDAS and the European Health Data Space in broad terms, it was addressed from a British perspective. Despite Brexit, funding for the project began before the UK’s departure, and subsequently the UK is still able to participate. Interests on either side of the Channel do align here, as both the UK and the EU recognise that data sharing is essential for business. The European Health Data Space will promote a better exchange of data, making health data available for a variety of uses like research, innovation, and policymaking.

The current UK-EU data sharing agreement was discussed, and it was established that the UK wants to ensure that it does not jeopardise the agreement. Therefore, any new UK specific policies post-Brexit will have to build on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and not diverge excessively from the current policies. This will also help to ensure that we do not end up with two separate regimes, complicating things for businesses having to deal with two sets of expensive compliance costs; any future policy developments should serve only to streamline processes. A UK Government publication is due in early October outlining how data will be used in the UK, and it is expected to be heavily influenced by wider EU data policy and the European Health Data Space. It was also emphasised that UK-based companies can continue to be involved and interact with the European Health Data Space in a variety of ways.

The interaction between the European Health Data Space and existing laws on data usage, such as the Data Governance Act and the GDPR was considered. The Commission sees this established data legislation as the overarching framework which the Health Data Space falls under. However, on specific health issues where there is ambiguity, the European Health Data Space legislation would take precedent. The links between the The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Data Analysis and Real World Interrogation Network (DARWIN), and TEHDAS were discussed. The EMA is an observer of the work that TEHDAS does, they attend TEHDAS monthly meetings, and their work on DARWIN is to be tightly linked to TEHDAS’ work on the European Health Data Space.

Currently, as a part of the preparation for the European Health Data Space, widescale public consultation projects are taking place. On both sides of the Channel, consultation on data use is a top priority, as the aim of the project is to make it easy for citizens to share data where they would like to. On the UK’s side, pre-existing consultation networks are being used to survey the public during the Covid-19 pandemic; while TEHDAS is using a variety of consultation methods to interact with stakeholders, such as their TEHDAS Stakeholder Forum on 27th October 2021. The aim of the European Health Data Space is to set up a framework that will be operational for a significant period of time, which is why so much work has gone into the TEHDAS project to help the Commission prepare a strong proposal and execution of the European Health Data Space.

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Confirmed Mr Markus Kalliola

Mr Markus Kalliola

Project Director, Sitra
Markus Kalliola is the project director in Health data 2030 project in The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the coordinator of Joint Action Towards The European Health Data Space (TEHDAS). Prior to Sitra he worked in the European Commission in DG Health and food safety where he was responsible of the cross-border healthcare IT projects. Mr. Kalliola has vast experience in data economy and in the next years he will work towards healthier and fairer data economy for Europe as well as towards more competitive health data ecosystem in Finland. Mr. Kalliola holds a positions of trust in HMA-EMA joint big data steering group, HMA-EMA Darwin EU advisory board and DNV Digital health advisory board.