Health sometimes is not only linked to health ministries but to trade. Last 10th April, the European Commission Single Market directorate, celebrated the European Digital Day adopting several initiatives that will impact our health and care.

The most important action is the signature of an eHealth Declaration, who have committed to deliver “cross border access to their genomic information”. Genomic data refers to the complete set of human DNA and genes, and therefore contains crucial data to advance on health research and personalised medicine for patients. It is an initiative from the trade EU ministry (Directorate-General Single Market), rather than the health one (Directorate-General Health and Food Safety), because it will be tasked with the governance, access and interoperability of the systems between the countries that wish to exploit them for research.

The Member States who have signed the Declaration are countries whose system is ready for such exchange of information (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK). Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece have also committed to sign the declaration, which remains open for all the 28 Member States. The objective is to gather 1 million European genomes by 2022.

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, welcomed the signature as in his view it will add data capabilities to the European Reference Networks created in 2017, the virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe to facilitate discussions on complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment, and concentrated knowledge and resources.

The Digital Day also brought other initiatives on cooperation in artificial intelligence, the blockchain technology to improve digital trust and several tools to boost market innovation.

For more information on the genomics database visit the European Commission website.

Digital Health and Care infographic EC