Data Matters

Twinning solution

Technology hubs for patient data gathering and evaluation

Twinning type

Partial adoption

Main policy priority

Better data to promote research, disease prevention and personalised health and care


Badalona Serveis Assistencials SA (Spain), CoRe-Net – Cologne Research Network (Germany), Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia (Estonia)


Badalona Serveis Assistencials SA (Spain), CoRe-Net – Cologne Research Network (Germany), Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia (Estonia), The North Estonia Medical Center (NEMC)

Short description

Data Matters aims at making use of expanding data gathering initiatives in order to share experience and learn from other regions’ expertise.
For this purpose, the twinning brings together four players from three member states (Spain, Estonia, and Germany) that all have done important steps in relation to integrating data and making it useful for care improvement, but who at the same time have a clearly defined need to learn from others and improve and expand upon what they are already doing.
The twinning will consist of three technology learning hubs on data infrastructure, data integration, and data analysis where all partners can both teach and learn based on their own profiles and demand. The twinning will be accompanied by dedicated dissemination measures on regional, national and international levels to make the learnings available to a wide audience. Also, the partners will use a benchmarking approach for health data structure readiness to assess the progress generated by the twinning. To this end, existing benchmarks will be amalgamated to arrive at a suitable instrument for this purpose.


Twinning activities

Several visits to the different teams involved in the twinning took place. In Tallinn, Estonia, interoperability in the Estonian e-governance system was discussed. In addition, a tour of the North Estonia Medical Centre took place. The visit to Cologne, Germany, involved discussions about CoRe-Net projects and data modelling for integrated care. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trip to Badalona, Spain, had to be replaced by a day of online meetings. During these meetings, the Catalan healthcare system and the BSA Data Lab were discussed.


Learning hubs on data infrastructure, integration and analysis were set up where all members both taught and learned 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 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 the first collection of existing approaches across EU member states which will serve as a starting point for continued international exchange on data integration.

Added value and benefits

The twinning provided a great opportunity for the partners to learn from each other and find solutions to common problems collectively.

Barriers and success factors

The twinning action was highly ambitious, and with ambition follows a certain level of risk. A main source of risk was the strong dependency between the practical twinning and learning process in the participating regions. It is a well-known fact that timeframes and plans in real life can change or experience delays. Nevertheless, the expected tasks from the different work packages were completed successfully.


The idea of the Data Matters group is to be a starting point with the first collection of existing approaches across EU member states for a continued international exchange. The project will be presented at the ICIC20 conference, and at the forthcoming AAL Forum 2021.