EU releases new approach for cancer treatment, utilising digital technology

The EU unveiled a new approach for cancer treatment in a recently published report titled ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The EU will focus on research and innovation, and explore the potential that digitisation and new technologies offer over the coming years. These activities will be supported by EU policies in the areas of employment, education, social policy, and equality. The plan emphasises the importance of combining health data and new technologies to advance the development of personalised medicine, which is a powerful tool in addressing cancer through tailor-made prevention and treatment strategies. Noting that the healthcare sector is ‘data-rich but information poor’ given the health sector lags behind in exploiting data that are stored within health systems, it states that the European Digital Strategy will benefit cancer care through the use of artificial intelligence and high-performing computing. To make the most of data and digitisation, the European Health Data Space will be proposed in 2021, enabling cancer patients to securely access and share their health data in an integrated format in their electronic health records (EHR) between healthcare providers and across borders in the EU. To realise seamless access and exchange of EHR across Europe, the plan notes that the European Commission will pursue work with member states on a common exchange format for EHR and to tackle data security, privacy, and interoperability.