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How do we adapt locally to European regulations? How can we harmonize healthcare data so the whole ecosystem speaks the same language? How should it be made available to all the stakeholders involved? These were some of the topics of the event titled “Building the European Health Data Space of the future (EHDS)” organized by Biocat, the Catalan Ministry of Health, TIC Salut and PredictBy on July 11, gathering experts and professionals from the sector at Tech Barcelona to work together to create an efficient, advanced health data system.
The event was kicked off by Miquel Martí, CEO of Tech Barcelona, and then featured presentations by Pol Pérez Sust, CIO of the Catalan Health Service, and Biocat CEO Robert Fabregat. “It’s no good having the capacity to store and connect health data if we can’t access it to drive research and innovation, from both the public and private sectors, in order to validate new technology,” highlighted Fabregat. In this regard, Biocat is taking part in the EDAH - European Data Space in Health project, funded through Horizon Europe, which aims to encourage debate and advance in the creation of the European Health Data Space (EHDS), which this event was part of. Biocat Director of Science Policy and Internationalization Montserrat Daban presented the EDAH project and case studies that have already been conducted in some European countries, which are available on the project website.
Catalonia currently has 27 different hospital information systems. “So far, we’ve been working on syntactic interoperability, so other stakeholders can interpret the data, and now we have to move onto semantic interoperability: exchanging not just data but also content and context,” explains Pol Pérez, CIO of the Catalan Health Service. “We’re sure we can save the information in a way that allows us to reflect clinical knowledge in a database,” added Pérez.
One example of these systems is at Vall d’Hebron. Zaira Benítez, head of the hospital’s Data Architecture Unit, explained their experience creating the “Data Access Committee” two years ago to harmonize all the initiatives involving the use of health data, which already has a project underway. Then Joan Guanyabens, director of the TIC Salut Social Foundation, presented the AI Observatory in the field of health in Catalonia. “Digitalization only makes sense if we can generate value from the data we compile: artificial intelligence has to help in decision-making,” believes Guanyabens.
The event also featured representatives from other Spanish healthcare systems, including Juan Ignacio Coll, director general for Digital Transformation, Innovation and User Rights in the Government of Aragon. “If we want to create a health data space, we need to get the people involved. And to do so, they need participation channels that make them co-responsible for their data from the very beginning,” noted Coll. For his part, Ramón Rodríguez, head of Advanced Analytics in the Sub-Directorate General for Information Technology of the Murcia Health Service, presented the Health DataLake project.
For his part, Ramón Rodríguez, Head of Advanced Analytics in the General Sub-Directorate of Information Technologies of the Murcian Health Service, presented the Health DataLake of the Murcian Health Service during the conference.The event featured a co-creation workshop to build an ecosystem for secondary use of health data, debating possible rules, regulations and common practices, infrastructures and governance frameworks, which was moderated by Francisco Lupiáñez, co-founder of PredictBy and professor in the UOC Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences.
The event was brought to a close by Ramon Maspons, Chief Health Innovation Strategist for the Catalan Ministry of Health and director of Innovation at AQuAS. Maspons cited several variables that are necessary for the Catalan healthcare system to function as an innovative ecosystem: “A quality public-private partnership system, a public sector that can generate sophisticated demand, and the ability for stakeholders to interact and spur each other on, the ability to anticipate.” Events like those organized by Biocat help identify the needs this ecosystem must address, highlighted Maspons.
Want to know more? Retrieve the recording of the sessions here.