On November 5, 2019, the European Commission published a report entitled “Strengthening Strategic Value Chains for a future-ready EU Industry”, which was prepared by the Strategic Forum on Important Projects of Common European Interest (“Forum”). The Forum assists the European Commission in identifying key strategic value chains that can contribute to Europe’s industrial competitiveness and its green and digital transformation objectives.  To that end, the Forum proposes a common vision for joint actions and investments between the EU, its Member States, and industry.

The report identifies smart health as one of the key strategic value chains. Other key strategic value chains include the industrial Internet of Things and cybersecurity.

The Forum defines “smart health” as “the development of smart (usually digitally aided) solutions to improve the way healthcare solutions are delivered”, and highlights the importance of health data and health analytics to improve healthcare in the EU.  However, according to the report, a number of challenges at the EU-level appear to hamper the development of smart health solutions. These challenges include “the high costs associated with the installation of systems using advanced technologies, as well as concerns over data security, and a lack of integration and information sharing”. The Forum concludes in its report that there is a need for public intervention to overcome these challenges. In particular, the Forum refers to the need to (i) increase public funding in this area; (ii) regulate and harmonize—at the EU-level—access to and use of health data, and (iii) create trust by citizens through data governance and consent management models.

In light of the above, the Forum’s report provides the following six recommendations:

  1. create a federated European health data space with appropriate privacy protections;
  2. support the development of smart health products and services;
  3. adapt regulations and standards with the aim of “advancing standardization and interoperability of healthcare data”;
  4. promote skills for the development, uptake and effective use of smart health products and services;
  5. stimulate the demand-side and the uptake of smart health products and services; and
  6. create a pan-European operational network (a “European Smart Health Innovation Hub”) to assess and promote smart health initiatives.

The report sets out specific actions for each of these recommendations.

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Photo of Kristof Van Quathem Kristof Van Quathem

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty…

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty years and developed particular experience in the life science and information technology sectors. He counsels clients on government affairs strategies concerning EU lawmaking and their compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks, and has represented clients in non-contentious and contentious matters before data protection authorities, national courts and the Court of the Justice of the EU.

Kristof is admitted to practice in Belgium.

Photo of Anna Oberschelp de Meneses Anna Oberschelp de Meneses

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate…

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate international data protection law projects.  She has obtained a certificate for “corporate data protection officer” by the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (“Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.”). She is also Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPPE/EU) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Anna also advises companies in the field of EU consumer law and has been closely tracking the developments in this area.  Her extensive language skills allow her to monitor developments and help clients tackle EU Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Law issues in various EU and ROW jurisdictions.