In May, the European Commission unveiled the European Health Data Space, an initiative designed to dramatically reshape how national health authorities use medical data for both research and policy.
EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides spoke to Euronews about the origins of the project and its importance for EU citizens.
According to Kyriakides one of the key drivers behind Europe's push to revolutionise the digital health space has been the innovation witnessed during the pandemic, most notably the EU's Digital COVID Certificate. A development that made it possible for people to travel again by proving that they had either been vaccinated, tested negative for COVID-19, or had recently recovered from the virus.
"The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a European success story that has gone global. It has really been a key tool in order to facilitate safe travel during one of the worst pandemics of modern history when citizens and everybody's lives changed."
"The most important, I believe, lesson that we learned is that we can achieve truly remarkable things when we work together, when we coordinate and when we cooperate," Kyriakides said.
The European Health Data Space aims to harness the treasure trove of health data from across the EU. It's hoped this goldmine of information could lead to new treatments, better patient care, and contribute to the better functioning of Europe's health systems.
"The European Health Data Space, which we proposed earlier in May for ourselves, is a game-changer in the area of health. Let us see how this will affect citizens' lives in actuality. First of all, we citizens having full control of their data in a protected way, fully protected way, we have access to their medical file, including their imagery, their tests, so that they can access health services no matter where they are within the EU."