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TEHDAS consults stakeholders on EHDS technical infrastructure

The European health data space should facilitate the efficient use of health data throughout the EU while ensuring a high-level of personal data protection. TEHDAS conducted a series of workshops with stakeholders to find out about their views on the kind of technical infrastructure needed to do this.

A recent report by the joint action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) presents a summary of stakeholders’ views obtained at a series of workshops on the technical infrastructure and services of the European health data space (EHDS). Based on the workshops, TEHDAS has identified several important elements to support the implementation of EHDS.

Secure processing environments

The Commission’s EHDS legislative proposal underlines the importance of ensuring a secure processing environment (SPE), where data processing takes place after a data permit has been granted, as a key element of the EHDS architecture. The stakeholders emphasised that when creating SPEs one size does not fit all data users’ needs. Security requirements, such as the authentication of data users and default tools for data analysis, should be standard. Any organisation, including private companies, should be allowed to create SPEs and provide additional features and services, but they need to be audited against commonly agreed standards.

Stakeholders were of the opinion that several SPE’s per country should be available, including cloud based SPEs. They also highlighted that data users need different options for data analysis: transferring data from different data sources to create larger datasets for analysis (centralised approach) and analysis where data is not transferred (federated approach). Data holders should be able to provide their data using common data models and SPEs should have application programming interfaces (APIs) to support federated analysis.

Dataset catalogue systems

The EHDS proposal entails requirements for data holders and data access bodies to keep catalogues of available health data sets to inform data users about what kind of data is available in a given country for secondary use. Stakeholders stressed that existing metadata standards, catalogues and data discovery solutions form a good basis for fulfilling EHDS requirements.

The technical infrastructure and services have been addressed by the TEHDAS advisory board workshops involving about 40 experts from across Europe.

We are grateful to all advisory group participants for their valuable insights and guidance to our work”, says Juan González-García of the Institute for Health Sciences in Aragon, a TEHDAS partner leading the work.

The report summarises the results of two latest workshops organised between November 2022 and February 2023.

TEHDAS will issue final recommendations on the EHDS technical infrastructure in spring 2023.

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