Friday, January 26, 2007

EU 'e-health'

Via Glyn on the ORG list, ZDNet reports:

"The European Commission is about to call for proposals on how patients' medical details would be shared between its member states, with the UK almost certain to be included in the scheme.

Within the next few days, an initiative called the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) will be adopted as part of Framework 7, a massive drive by the EU to fund research and development, with e-health being a major beneficiary.

One requirement of the CIP will be to establish interoperability between member states' healthcare IT systems, such as the NHS' so-called "Spine", which is the new UK database of patient care records.

This aim was outlined in a document published in September last year, entitled Connected Health: Quality and Safety for European Citizens. In this document, the Commission's ICT for Health unit called for interoperability between nations' healthcare systems, arguing that "health, social care and other providers must no longer work in isolation, but need to collaborate as a team, if necessary beyond their national and linguistic borders".

I'm glad to see Ross Anderson is in fighting spirit over the idea. When ZDnet asked him for his thoughts he said:

"If you're somebody with information that should be known, at present you will carry either a bracelet or a card in your wallet to say so. It is foolish to move to a computer for the simple reason that, if you have the information either on an online database or sitting on a smartcard, then the computer could be down. Human-readable information which you can carry is the most appropriate technology... I sincerely hope it's another round of something that's never going to happen. If it comes to the point that every one of the five million people working in healthcare in Europe, plus the CIA and hackers, can access the information, then I'll stop using the health service"

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