The European Commission aims to provide patients with secure access to digital health records by 2015, as part of its Digital Agenda for Europe.

Speaking at the Global eHealth Forum in Hamburg, Flora Girogio of the EC’s ICT for Health unit, said Digital Agenda for Europe will develop the necessary infrastructure.

There are seven pillars to the strategy, covering issues ranging from developing interoperability and standards to ultra fast Internet access, digital literacy and eGovernment solutions.

The strategy’s goals include raising internet coverage to 100% by 2013 and facilitating data exchange at greater than 30 Mbps by 2020.

It also says that by 2012 there should be a minimum set of common patient data available for interoperable patient records.

The EC-funded epSOS project, involving 12 member states, has launched a pilot project in this area.

The Digital Agenda for Europe has launched pilot initiatives to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data by 2015 and to achieve widespread deployment of telemedicine services by 2020.

Girogio announced that a memorandum of understanding is to be signed between the United States and Europe in about four months on the interoperability of health data exchange.

”The most underused resource in healthcare is the patient and there is a common understanding among Member States that patients have to be empowered," Giorgio said.