Official launch of the French digital health space: ‘Mon Espace Santé’
In the continuity of the “Dossier Médical Partagé” (DMP), the French shared medical records, and after a pilot phase in three départements, the new digital health space “Mon Espace Santé” is officially launched by the French government on February 3, 2022. The objective of Mon Espace Santé, which includes the DMP, is to allow all French people to manage their health and data, through different functionalities.
‘Opt-out’ rule: a major difference with the DMP
While the opt-in rule was retained for the DMP (a DMP is created for people who opted-in) – which was not as successful as expected, Mon Espace Santé has chosen the opt-out concept. From January to March 2022, the French health insurance (CNAM) will contact French citizens by mail or e-mail to inform them that their Mon Espace Santé account has been created. They will then have a period of 6 weeks to object to the creation of their account. After this period and if no opposition is made, the Mon Espace Santé account will be automatically created.However, French people remain free to change their mind and open a Mon Espace Santé account, as well as free to close their account in accordance with the rights guaranteed to them under the GDPR.
Mon Espace Santé features:
The objective of this new digital health space is to allow everyone to store and share their documents and health data in complete security for better care and monitoring by getting involved in the management and sharing of these data. As such, Mon Espace Santé offers several features:
- A secure health messaging system allowing patients to exchange information and documents with different healthcare professionals involved in their care.
- A secure file in which all health documents will be stored. These documents can be uploaded directly by the patient, but also by the various healthcare professionals involved in the patient's care. To achieve this, major projects are being carried out to ensure that all the software used, notably by healthcare professionals, comply with standards and become interoperable. In addition, this file automatically integrates the old DMP for French people who have it.
- A medical profile in which it is possible to share most of one's health information, in particular information concerning illnesses, treatments, allergies, vaccinations, or even health measurements (i.e., constants relating to weight, height, etc.). Ultimately, the goal is for these constants to be fed into the medical profile through mobile applications that collect these constants in real time (i.e., the future catalog of digital health services).
Each holder of a Mon Espace Santé account is considered as the sole manager and user so that he/she can freely offer temporary or permanent access to his/her account to healthcare establishments, healthcare professionals, members of a healthcare team or any other healthcare professional involved in his/her care, just as the holder can decide to end such access (article L. 1111-13-1 of the French Public Health Code).
In addition, other functionalities are to come, namely: a health diary allowing to manage one’s various medical appointments, and a catalog of digital health services referenced by the French State, safe and compatible with Mon Espace Santé.
In order for French people to become familiar with this new digital health space, they must have confidence in this tool. One of the challenges that Mon Espace Santé must meet is to inspire transparency, confidence and security in French people, at a time when data protection, especially when it comes to health data, is at the heart of concerns. In this respect, one of the factors of confidence is that the data stored in Mon Espace Santé are hosted in France. Also, the CNAM and the Ministry of Health are jointly responsible for the processing of data carried out within the framework of Mon Espace Santé. In order to guarantee data security, the public authorities have approached independent control authorities such as the CNIL. The idea is that Mon Espace Santé should be systematically at the "state of the art" in this area.