Deployed in November 2018 by the French Ministry of Health, the “EHR” – “Electronic Health Record” (known as the “DMP” in french), is just one of the many devices resulting from the “My health 2022” reform announced by French President two months earlier. Aiming to modernize the French healthcare system, this ambitious program of 60 projects is in line with a trend that has been booming in recent years: the digitalization of medicine, and big data applied to the healthcare field. The French National Authority for Health already listed 50,000 health applications in 2016, and the volume of medical data worldwide continues to increase today, to the point of reaching 2.3 billion gigabytes in size’ by 2020 according to a research by the think tank LIR “Imaginons la Santé”, and probably be multiplied by 50 by 2050.
An evolution that seems to be approved by the French: according to an Odoxa study, 72% believe that their health data can be useful for the development of medicine. 83% of them are ready to share their data for this purpose, provided they are guaranteed anonymity and security. Security seems to be one of their main concerns, and they are concerned about the future of their data: 82% would agree to share it under one of the following three conditions, in addition to anonymity: know for what purposes these will be potentially used, know exactly to whom they will be transmitted, or be able to assert their right to object at any time.
The EHR is rather well received by citizens, who, according to a report by Viavoice, are 85% to note a certain interest in the tool, and 70% to spontaneously estimate that it would be useful to them. Security remains one of the major factors, since it is one of the most important criteria in the creation of an online file for 54% of those questioned. If it would allow according to 36% of respondents better care by all health professionals as well as better personal monitoring of patients thanks to the centralization of medical information, the main reason which could push 53% of them not to create a EHR would be a feeling of insecurity linked to the centralization of data. Among the elements that could encourage them to use this tool, having the possibility of closing it at any time is selected in 21% of cases.
If the collection and processing of health data is viewed favorably by the population, just like innovative digital devices within this sector, it is only providing that guarantees of protection are given, security raising recurring concern: anonymization, data security, and being able to oppose their use at any time, but these three points are precisely part of the main requirements of the GDPR … A topic which we will deal with in our next article dedicated to health data!