European health across borders
Data4Life is one of 19 partners forming the Smart4Health research consortium.
Smart4Health is a European digital health project focusing on EU citizens and their needs initiated to help improve healthcare through digital solutions.
From January 2019 to February 2023, the project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 framework program. The EU is providing €21.8 million in funding for this Research and Innovation Action, which combines partners from the medical, research and technology sectors.
The project aims to achieve a cross-national paradigm shift in healthcare: All citizens should be able to manage their individual health data in a self-determined and digital way. That’s why Data4Life is working with 18 partners to build a prototypical platform that will make it possible to manage health data easily, securely, and regardless of location, share it with trusted medical personnel and make it available to science.
The ideas and concepts for the digital Smart4Health solutions are created in a joint development process based on pre-determined use cases, so-called "citizen use cases". These use cases are based on everyday situations of citizens and were contributed by the various partners in the research consortium. They are tested by different user groups from the fields of nursing, physiotherapy or tourism and the results lay the foundation for the continuous development of Smart4Health.
An overview of the implemented use cases to date can be found here.
This approach puts the individuals in the focus of platform development and helps to ensure that the applications are as intuitive, easy to use, interoperable, and informative as possible. It also transparently educates users about all aspects of data processing and encourages data literacy.
Data4Life as a technology partner
We as Data4Life are working on the technical backbone of the project with a pro-rata funding of 2.3 million Euro. In our role as technological partner of the consortium, we develop the software as well as the storage and technology encryption of the platform.
The prototype of the Smart4Health web application is being developed in close coordination with the consortium partners.
To date, our team has implemented the following milestones:
2020 – Technical deployment of the platform including the following features:
- End-to-end encryption: Successful implementation of upload and saving function of files in JPG, PNG, PDF, TIFF and DCM formats into the Smart4Health account.
- Document sharing function: Files can be shared with trusted people (e.g. family members, medical staff, etc.). For this purpose, the user can compile a data set selected by him/her and grant access to the trusted person.
2021 - First use cases with registered citizens:
- Registration via electronic identification (eID): Authentication for access to the Smart4Health account is possible for users from various European countries, such as Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, or the Czech Republic, via the respective national electronic identity document (eID). This functionality, which is based on the EU regulation eIDAS, has thus been applied in the field of eHealth for the first time.
- Requirements for interoperability: Publication of the FHIR Implementation Guidelines and subsequent integration of the FHIR data standard into the platform with associated visualization of the IPS (International Patient Summary).
- Provision of a software developer kit: A Software Developer Kit (SDK) was developed and provided for the connection of external applications by further technical partners.
- Research platform: By standardizing data formats, access rights, and the processing of data provided, users can now also donate their data and thus make it available to health research.
2022 - First integration of the platform with European healthcare providers:
- Netherlands: Pilot integration with Maastricht University Medical Center+, a partner academic hospital in the Netherlands
- Madeira: Productive integration with SESARAM, the Health Service of the Autonomous Region of Madeira
The citizen-centered platform for an interoperable European patient record ("Citizen-centered platform for EU-EHR interoperable exchange") is listed in the European Commission's Innovation Radar.
Data4Life is listed as a Key Innovator alongside Healthmetrix and the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering.
The Smart4Health consortium consists of 19 partners from medical, social and technical sciences, and industry:
- Instituto de Desenvolvimento de Novas Tecnologias (Konsortialkoordination)
- Hasso-Plattner-Institut (Wissenschaftliche Koordination)
- Universität Wien
- Uniklinik RWTH Aachen
- Maastricht University Medical Center+
- Information Technology for Translational Medicine
- Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
- ZS Unternehmen Gesundheit
- Ospedale San Raffaele
- Stëftung Hëllef Doheem
- European Federation of Nurses Associations
- Região Autónoma da Madeira
- European Virtual Laboratory for Enterprise Interoperability
- European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities
More details about the project
Smart4Health project website: Smart4health.eu
Article on D4L.io: https://www.d4l.io/blog/data-interoperability-european-healthcare-smart4health/
Data4Life in featured in the innovation radar: https://www.innoradar.eu/innovator/906843980