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TEHDAS assesses data interoperability standards

Within the European health data space health data will be accessed and analysed across borders. TEHDAS has evaluated data interoperability standards that ensure the data gathered in Europe can be reliably used for research, policymaking and innovation.

A recent report by the joint action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) provides guidance on the use of common data interoperability standards to enhance the use of health data for secondary purposes. The proposed regulation on the European health data space (EHDS) will set obligatory requirements for implementing interoperability standards.

Interoperability standards have an important role in the different phases of the data lifecycle. These phases include the data preparation process, in the publication of data collections, and in the connection between health data access bodies in the HealthData@EU.

The report assesses 19 standards that provide a layer of semantic interoperability for secondary purposes. Semantic interoperability makes data findable, understandable and communicable between the parties that exchange it.

In the EHDS, where health data will be accessed and analysed across borders, it will be vital to maintain the same meaning even if the data formats and classifications used at source differ in each country or even between data sources in the same country. The aim is that, even though different countries record data in different formats, such data can be later combined to be used for research and decision-making and thus maintain semantic interoperability.

TEHDAS has previously identified standards that aim to ensure such data can be used across borders for secondary use.

Each standard was evaluated with the Common Assessment Method for Standards and Specifications (CAMSS) tool and nine recommendations were drawn on how the standards should be implemented in the EHDS. The recommendations are based on the evaluation, results of country surveys, a working group consensus process and in-depth interviews.

These recommendations are a part of TEHDAS’ Data Quality Framework, which creates a common framework for the use of health data for research, innovation and policymaking. The final framework and recommendations will be issued in spring 2023.

The document has been updated on 31 October 2023.

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