July 2023 – Permanent access to the electronic health record of his/her child by the parent with parental responsibility but no custody rights
The health record of the child is primarly accessible to the parent in whose insurance account the child is registered. In a case of our client, who shared parental responsibility for his child with his ex-wife, due to the fierce dispute between them, there was a refusal to inform the latter, but also a refusal to access their child’s personal data. In particular, the father requested access to his child’s electronic health record held at the National Agency for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY), through an authorisation to be provided by the mother in whose insurance account the child was registered.
In view of her refusal, the father independently requested access to the relevant Regional Directorate of the said National Agency. It was held that the data contained in the platform constituted personal data of the child to which the parent exercising parental responsibility had access, irrespective of the existence of a legitimate interest. Subsequently, our client’s request was granted, but initially for a period up to the point in time when the child’s health insurance expired (3 months) and then for a period of one year. This is because the access to the platform by means of an authorisation was (due to technical reasons) granted for a period of one year. However, after the one-year period, a new request was made for permanent access to the child’s electronic health record. The Regional Directorate of the National Agency for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY) accepted the request, granting the father access to the health record of his child for sixteen years, i.e. until his child reaches the age of majority. The shift in EOPYY’s policy on the issue under review is a key decision, as EOPYY and other public bodies appear to be disengaging from technical issues, such as the time period of access, but also legal loopholes, i.e. the approval of the directly insured member, providing equal access to eligible persons, regardless of the custody rights or the approval of the directly insured person. Therefore, unrestricted permanent access for each parent, as now appears to be taking shape, is a step towards the effective co-exercise of parental responsibility.