More and more mHealth initiatives are emerging as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. New apps are developed or existing apps are supplemented with specific functions. Remote care platforms are being developed. These developments are monitored and, where useful or necessary, guided by the Task Force “Data & Technology against Corona”, which meets virtually every evening. This Task Force is composed of representatives of the Ministers of Health and Digital Agenda and Privacy, of the FPS Health, of Sciensano, of the eHealth platform and of the chairman of the Belgian Data Protection Authority.
In particular, attention is paid to:
• the usefulness of the apps or platforms in the light of the fight against the corona crisis
• whether the apps or platforms are sufficiently scientifically substantiated
• whether the apps or platforms are in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and state of the art information security principles
• the fact that, in areas where this is important, initiatives are brought together and disparate development, which undermines effectiveness or efficiency, is avoided
• the fact that the apps or platforms do not cause any unnecessary additional burden on the already highly sought-after care providers and care institutions, and that as much as possible one-off collection and re-use of information is ensured, in accordance with the GDPR
• the fact that the apps or platforms, where useful, integrate with or utilize pre-existing eHealth services, such as electronic prescription via Recip-e, the hub metahub system for access to relevant documents, the health vaults, or the basic services of the eHealth platform
• the fact that the apps or platforms, where useful, pass on the relevant, in principle anonymous information to Sciensano’s policy support platform
The Task Force thus assumes a coordination and management function. Task Force decisions cannot be considered a formal certification of the apps or platforms. The providers and users of the apps remain responsible for the quality, safety and compliance with regulations, such as the GDPR or the regulations for medical devices.
Task Force decisions do not in any way imply that any direct or indirect compensation could be obtained from the government for offering or using the app or platform. Any decision in this respect is reserved to the competent bodies of the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI).
A favorable decision by the Task Force regarding an app or platform may be regarded as a support for it by the federal government to publish it in the app stores of, for example. Apple or Android. A certificate of this can be obtained electronically after the app or platform has been described on the basis of a template and has been discussed favorably with the Task Force.
The Task Force is also responsible for contacts with the European Commission and other Member States of the European Union within its field of action.