Ireland’s Department of Health has secured €3.6m in EU funding for implementing the European Health Data Space (EHDS), which aims to help competent bodies link health data sets and make them more accessible within the EU.

Specifically, the funding will support the establishment of a Health Data Access Body (HDAB) in Ireland.

The EHDS, part of the European Data Strategy, aims to enhance access to health data across Europe for patients, healthcare providers, and researchers.

HDAB will facilitate the connection between researchers, policymakers, and anonymised health datasets, to generate valuable insights which enhance healthcare services in Ireland.

The collaborative project will involve partnerships between the Department of Health, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), and the Health Research Board (HRB).

This project has a total budget of €6m, which includes €2.4m in national contribution and €3.6m in EU funding.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “I am delighted to announce that my department has been awarded EU funding of €3.6m for EHDS implementation.

“This funding decision enables us to develop the infrastructure needed for a health data access service in Ireland.

“Better analysis of health data facilitates powerful insights into how services are delivered nationally and supports research on new innovative treatments.”

EHDS aims to expedite access to personal electronic health records and empower individuals with greater digital control over their health data.

In addition, it will establish a secure electronic platform for healthcare providers to access patient data across the EU.

Ambassadors from EU member states have endorsed the European Council’s mandate for new regulations, enabling the establishment of the EHDS.

Discussions are underway between the Council, the European Parliament, and the European Commission, working towards an agreement on the progression of these regulations.