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TEHDAS provides recommendations on data interoperability

Health data is gathered in different ways across Europe. TEHDAS has identified standards that aim to ensure such data can be used across borders for research and decision-making.

Data interoperability is divided into semantic and syntactic interoperability. Semantic interoperability makes data understandable and meaningful between the parties that exchange it. Syntactic interoperability provides technical interoperability for data, such as structure and format.

In the European Health Data Space (EHDS), where health data will be accessed and analysed across borders, it becomes 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, the data can be later combined to be used for research and decision-making and thus maintain semantic interoperability.

The use of health data is often split into two categories: primary and secondary use. The recent report of the joint action Towards the European Health Data Space (TEHDAS) identifies several standards for data discovery and for developing common data models for secondary use. The report does not give recommendations on which standards or classification should be used when the data is collected or used in a care setting (the primary use of health data).

The report, which contains a list of relevant standards for semantic and syntactic interoperability, marks the beginning of work that will be finalised with the EHDS semantic interoperability framework. To identify the standards, TEHDAS work package 6 members participated in several European events and working groups during 2021.

The work will continue in 2022 with three other interim reports, while the final framework and recommendations will be published in January 2023.

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