Data Matters: DigitalHealthEurope twinning partners exchange knowledge on data integration

The partners from DigitalHealthEurope’s twinning Data Matters exchanged knowledge on data integration, data infrastructure and data analysis. Results will be presented at the AAL Forum 2021.

Integrated, value-based care can only be delivered based on sound data. The DigitalHealthEurope twinning Data Matters brought together four organisations from three EU member states to take important steps towards expanding data gathering initiatives, integrating data and making it useful for healthcare improvement. The twinning tackled data handling and management challenges identified in the Communication of the European Commission on “enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society”: different legal frameworks across EU countries, availability to different stakeholders’ profiles (including patients, public authorities, professional staff and researchers) and the interoperability in between different types of data.

As part of the twinning, Badalona Serveis Assistencials SA (BSA) from Spain, the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia (EE), the North Estonia Medical Centre (NEMC) from Estonia and the Cologne Research Network (CoRe-Net) from Germany exchanged knowledge on data integration, data infrastructure and data analysis.

To enable the DigitalHealthEurope twinning partners to exchange their knowledge, learning hubs on data infrastructure, integration and analysis were set up where all members both taught and learnt based on their skills and needs. BSA operates the Data Lab which is a highly advanced pooled data system with analytical tools and methods that rely on artificial intelligence and deep learning. During the twinning, BSA aimed to learn from the other twinning partners how to expand the scope of data included, to improve the analysis of linked data and find new ways to share data using secure infrastructures. Estonia has a data exchange layer called X-Road that produces a technological and organisational environment enabling secure internet-based data exchange. Additionally, Estonia is establishing a highly integrated data system that links data from healthcare, education, social welfare and unemployment. To improve this system, the other twinning partners shared methodological knowledge on data linkage. CoRe-Net operates an integrated database to support care service provision to citizens, as well as care policy making and research. During the Data Matters project, CoRe-Net looked for ways to integrate data from other sectors.

After the learning hubs had taken place, the DigitalHealthEurope twinning partners presented their activities and knowledge transfer of the twinning at the 20th International Conference on Integrated Care in September 2020. To make the Data Matters project’s learning available to a wide audience, the partners will hold a workshop at the upcoming AAL Forum 2021. The workshop will create a first collection of existing approaches across EU member states which will serve as a starting point for continued international exchange on data integration. After the AAL Forum, the DigitalHealthEurope twinning partners plan to continue their knowledge exchange and capacity building by including additional topics and more partners from across Europe.

More information about the Data Matters twinning can be found here.