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EXPLAINED: France’s new digital health space Mon Espace Santé

James Harrington
James Harrington - [email protected] • 11 Feb, 2022 Updated Fri 11 Feb 2022 13:16 CEST
EXPLAINED: France’s new digital health space Mon Espace Santé
Photo: Fred TANNEAU / AFP

The health minister says it's a 'new step in the development of digital health' - but what exactly is Mon espace santé and what should you do with letters and emails you get about it?


After a slow start, France has gone all-in on the digital world. It's increasingly becoming easier to carry out a host of administrative tasks, from banking to applying for a driving licence from the comfort of home via your computer or smartphone.

And now it's the turn of healthcare, with health minister Olivier Véran announcing the creation of Mon espace santé.

If you're registered in the French health system you will receive either a letter or email about this in the days to come, so here's what it is and what you need to do next.

What is Mon espace santé?

It's basically, a new digital iteration of the carte vitale health card, with added extras.

It gives holders a secure and easy-to-access online space in which they can add and consult their documents and health information and share them with the healthcare professionals as required.

What data does a Mon espace santé account hold? 

In short, medical documents such as prescriptions, the results of examinations and analyses, medical images and hospitalisation reports. 


The majority of health data will be entered by health professionals, but a patient can add to their file information including family history details, allergies, vaccinations, treatments in progress and so on.

It is also possible to share a summary of your profile with health professionals.

But I already have a Shared Medical Record (Dossier médical partagé, or DMP), do I need this too?

Anyone who has a Shared Medical Record (DMP), can still use it. All of the data on the DMP will be transferred to Mon espace santé. 

Who will have access to this health data?

Only health professionals and the holder. As soon as a healthcare professional or establishment accesses the health documents of a patient for the first time, the latter is automatically notified. 

The connection history, with the name of the professional, the document consulted, the date and time, is also available. 

The right of access to information is explained in this document (pdf) which set out what data is accessible according to profession or their speciality. For example, an optician cannot access a report on the delivery of a baby.

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Assumed consent

The doctor listed as the patient's médecin traitant (registered doctor or GP) - for obvious reasons - has access to all the information in the file.

It is also assumed that healthcare teams directly involved in the care of a patient, such as in the case of a medical emergency, can have access to the data.

Medical professionals who are not part of a patient's care team must obtain the patient's prior consent, verbally or in writing, to consult their digital file. 


Will insurance companies have access to the data?


Any consultation of the information in anyone’s personal Mon espace santé space not motivated by medical reasons can lead to criminal sanctions.

Can I deny a medical professional access to my file?

At any time, a patient can block or unblock access to their medical file by a healthcare professional. On the other hand, except for a very limited number of 'legitimate reasons’, you cannot refuse an authorised professional to add information useful for the prevention, continuity and coordination of care. 

Under 18s who wish to keep information concerning their sexual health confidential can refuse to have this information listed in their digital file.

How to activate your account

Between now and March, every one who holds a carte vitale will receive a letter from l'Assurance-maladie (Ameli), the Health Ministry or Mutualité sociale agricole inviting them to activate their digital medical file via the website using their carte vitale and a provisional, time-limited, code.

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For children, the letters will be sent to the parent on whose card they are listed.

The provisional code is valid for six weeks. If it is allowed to lapse, a new code can be generated by completing an online form. 

The site can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet. An app is being developed, and anyone without access to the Internet can ask for help at their local France Services counter, or by contacting their local CPAM.

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Can I refuse to have an account?

Mon espace sante accounts are actually created automatically. But you have the choice to close them within six weeks of receiving your letter. To do so you will have to access the account, then demand it is closed down.

After that, you will have to contact the support line by phone on 34 22, or via Ameli or your primary insurance fund.

And what about the future?

The Mon espace santé site hosts a secure messaging service, through which holders and healthcare professionals can exchange information. 

A calendar to manage medical appointments, with reminders about check-ups, screenings and vaccinations is planned; as are systems to allow virtual consultations and monitor chronic illnesses.

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Is all this data secure?

An important question. 

All the data stored in every patient's personal space on the site is protected and secured by the government, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) and the Caisse nationale d'assurance maladie (Cnam), which oversees France’s compulsory health insurance schemes. 

All data is hosted in France by two subcontractors,  Atos and Santeos

But, any data is only as secure as its weakest link - which often is the user. So, choose a secure password, and don’t access your personal space using an unprotected public wifi network. Health information is big business for criminals. Don’t make it easy for them.


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