Today citizens and patients moving around Europe have very limited access to and control over their health data. While digitisation in the Member States is progressing rapidly, patient health data, including in digital form, is being disseminated with various healthcare providers and blocked in different silos that are not communicating with each other.
There are legal and technological constraints but also semantic barriers, such as the different languages and terminologies adopted by different countries. As a result, citizens cannot easily ensure that their complete health data is available to different physicians as necessary for safe and efficient treatment, possibly in different countries, and cannot access it themselves for their complete medical history.
InteropEHRate aims to support people’s health by opening up new ways for them to make health data available where needed. To make this possible, key health data is managed in the “hands of patients”, that is, through Smart Health Records (Smart-EHR) managed through mobile devices. The data is always transferred through highly secure channels, even with direct communication from the patient’s device to the healthcare professional’s device (D2D). In this way, patients have full control of their data and its pathways.
The InteropEHRate Research Project aims to develop open exchange protocols to support patient-centred exchange of medical records between patients, healthcare professionals and researchers. Therefore, the project will contribute to the next phases of the follow-up of the EC Recommendation of February 2019 and will help pave the way towards a format and process of exchange of European and open Electronic Medical Records. The key result is an interchange method comprising multiple components to establish interoperable clinical pathways for communicating health data between different figures, including patients and researchers.
The method will consist of a specification and a reference implementation:
- The Interoperate format specification – in response to the February 2019 EC Recommendation towards an open European electronic health record exchange format – aims to become an HL7 FHIR specification supporting syntax and semantic requirements.
- The project will also provide a reference implementation demonstrating the communication processes between the patient APP and healthcare professionals and research institutions.
Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio represents both the clinical and the socio-healthcare IT reference for the user requirements of the new interoperability platform, including requirements from citizens, health professionals and research scientists for all applications in the creation of the prototype.
The Monasterio Foundation is responsible for the validation of the final InteropEHRate platform, to assess whether all functional and non-functional requirements are met. This validation will be carried out under operational conditions, testing its use in at least three different international scenarios that require the cross-border exchange of health data to meet the requirements of three types of users: citizens, health professionals and researchers. The project will distribute the results to the participating hospital partners: DTCA Hygeia – Diagnostic and Therapeutic Centre of Athens (Greece), CHU de Liège – Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège (Belgium), SCUBA – “Bagdasar-Arseni” Clinical Emergency Hospital of Bucharest (Romania).
Prospects and next steps
InteropEHRate is funded by the European Union for 42 months and is implemented by a unique consortium of experienced institutions and qualified experts. InteropEHRate partners represent healthcare solution providers, hospitals, universities and research centres, as well as associations of European and local representatives. In the long term, the InteropEHRate specifications will be subject to the international standardisation process.
This project is funded by the European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 program under Grant number No. 826106.