EIT Digital to catalyse expansion of pan-European digital health data federation

EIT Digital to catalyse expansion of  pan-European digital health data federation

EIT Digital is leading the work to expand a federation of data custodians and develop a network of healthcare data safe havens across Europe. The Digital Health Data Federation will allow the utilisation of data in a comparative analytical way and enables the analytic outputs to be shared across different jurisdictions. The jurisdictions retain absolute control and ownership of their data, and no sensitive personal data is moved between the jurisdictions. The federation is now looking to enhance and strengthen its membership base, and accordingly, it is engaging with the public sector to ensure secure data collection and to catalyse the health data ecosystem.

Healthcare is rapidly becoming increasingly data intensive. The sector already produces a significant amount of data - from scans and imaging data, to biomarkers and genomic data, as well as wide scale population health information. However, the vast majority of available data sets are locked within different data jurisdictions, often with public sector organisations maintaining and controlling the files.

The Digital Health Data Federation will work to overcome this limitation, by allowing research-related experiments to be undertaken using large scale data from different jurisdictions. Access to large-scale data enables more reliable and quicker research-related analysis to be undertaken, which has the potential to transform the provision of healthcare. The project is seeking to engage customers from both the public and private sectors, in order to deliver healthcare benefits and facilitate research.

The work for strengthening the member base of the Digital Health Data Federation is done in the context of EIT Digital "Trusted Data Safe Havens for Healthcare" Innovation Activity.*

Gordon Frame, the Innovation Activity Lead and Director of Healthcare Engagement at The Data Lab, said:

"Our Key-Success-Factor will be the impact we make on European healthcare systems, specifically the improvement in the health and wellbeing of large populations. Improvement in health outcomes can be achieved through the more effective use of therapies or through the redesign of existing systems, and this can have major economic, social, and scientific value. We have already demonstrated that the analysis of large scale patient data can assist in determining the most clinical effective therapy in a defined disease area, like cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, and respiratory illnesses.

Mr. Frame continued:

"The federation members will utilise analytical technical integration, expert networking, and business processes, by which health and care data can be utilised effectively, as well as analytic outputs being shared across jurisdictions for research purposes, The accountability for the governance of regional data safe havens will be retained within the jurisdictions. This will place our federation in a unique position for very large scale European data analysis projects in healthcare and life science."

All parties interested in joining the Digital Health Data Federation or learning more about it, are encouraged to contact the Innovation Activity leader Gordon Frame - email:


*EIT Digital Innovation Activities deliver new products or services, create startups and spinoffs to commercialise outputs from projects, and encourage the transfer of technologies for market entry.

Trusted Data Safe Havens for Healthcare Innovation Activity is one of the 13 Innovation Activities of the Digital Infrastructure Action Line of EIT Digital for 2017. The Digital Infrastructure Action Line focuses on enabling digital transformation by providing secure, robust, responsive, and intelligent communications and computation facilities for the markets.

In addition to The Data Lab, the following EIT Digital partners are members in the Innovation Activity:
Atos Spain, British Telecom (BT Research), German Technical University of Berlin (TUB), and Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche (CNR).

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