A Legal Framework for Security in European Health Care Telematics


Rienhoff, O.,
Laske, C.,
Van Eecke, P.,
Wenzlaff, P.,
Piccolo, U.

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The importance of health care is obvious, and so are the advantages that information and communication technology is bringing to health care, its quality, its availability and its affordability. Equally important, however, is security. Security for health care information systems is not only a technical matter, it is a social goal to be achieved and to be maintained by acknowledging the social values in which such systems operate, such as the essential relationship of trust between the patient and the doctor and individual as well as collective privacy, values which find their expression in the normative environment of these systems. As the report shows observing security from this perspective, in time, turns legal requirements from obstacles to assets for successful implementation and acceptance.

This book is the result of a collaborative European effort; collaborative across national and linguistic boundaries, collaborative as regards the disciplines involved in its production, and collaborative as it concerns the various sub-disciplines of law dealing with these issues. With this broad approach the report represents another essential element for the future of health care information systems in our societies: Health care information systems will reflect the increasing mobility of the European citizens, the diversity of the services they will expect within Europe, the information and communication needs these services will produce and the complex legal environment in which they have to operate.

As recently shown by the European Directive on data protection and by the efforts of establishing a European system of secure transactions, in this context too, the legal environment is the expression of common expectations as regards the values to be observed in the European information and communication society.

The report addresses these issues in a clear language bridging the disciplines, providing highly useful policy tools for project leaders and for decision makers in the Health Telematics field.

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