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TEHDAS’ proposals for the implementation of EHDS technical infrastructure

The European health data space (EHDS) should facilitate the efficient use of health data throughout the EU, while ensuring a high level of personal data protection. TEHDAS has developed recommendations for the technical infrastructure needed to do this.

A new report by the joint action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) analyses different technical options to facilitate the secondary use of health data in the EU and provides member states with tools to support the implementation of the EHDS.

The report provides recommendations on different aspects of the technical infrastructure including data permit services, data integration services and data access. The recommendations were voted on and prioritised to reflect the views of the TEHDAS partners.

For instance, concerning the data permit process, partners recognised the benefits of a centralised process but leaned towards a distributed process once permission from a data user has been received. A centralised approach – ‘one stop shop’ – means that users of health data can send their permit request to a single location that will be responsible for its management, even though the data is located with multiple data holders.

The partners voted in favour of data integration taking place at the level of the health data access bodies that grant access to data and prepare it for use rather than at the level of data holders. According to the Commission’s proposal, each member state will establish one or more such health data access bodies to allow access to health data for secondary purposes.

With regard to secure processing environments, a key finding was that both the security standards of the secure processing environments and the auditing mechanisms to audit them should be agreed at the European level to ensure proper uptake. The EHDS proposal underlines the importance of having a secure processing environment (SPE), where data processing takes place after a data permit has been granted, as a key element of the EHDS architecture.

This analysis will help member states prepare and implement the necessary changes required by the EHDS. Member states across the EU have different national health systems, all of which will need to work together in the future EHDS structure. National implementation to support the EHDS will vary, and one size will not fit all. The report provides an analysis of the pros and cons of different technical implementation options to support decision making in the member states.

This concludes the work of TEHDAS on the EHDS technical infrastructure.

The report has been approved by the project steering group. The European Commission gives final approval to all joint action’s deliverables.

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