Cross-border collaboration can tackle the challenges in accessing relevant health data essential for international collaboration between scientists and clinicians, researchers, and health industry. Privacy concerns and regulations on personal data have made the sharing of health data increasingly complex and time-consuming for data controllers, thus severely limiting the access of SMEs, researchers, and innovators to health data. Further complications in cross-border collaboration arise from differences in interpreting the EU GDPR, national regulations, and heterogenous and changing data permit processes at hospital sites.
The PHEMS project will provide European children’s hospitals with a decentralized and open health data ecosystem concept consisting of technical components and governance frameworks. The objective is to facilitate access to health data, advance federated health data analysis and build services for the on-demand generation of shareable, synthetized, and anonymized datasets. To achieve this, the project will focus on bridging the gaps in data access and use, especially in the integration of ethical, legal, and technical requirements, including the responsibilities of data controllers and the rights of data subjects. This will allow health data controllers to engage in collaboration without losing control on compliance with respect to GDPR, national legislation or internal policies of their organization.
The techniques and tools for generating algorithmically anonymized and synthetic datasets will undergo robust validation processes through three clinical use cases conducted by the European Children’s Hospitals Organisation (ECHO) community. The goal is to assess the usage of custom-generated synthetic data with real-life questions. Data users, such as researchers, SMEs, innovators and the pharmaceutical and MedTech industry, will be engaged through community building, hackathons, and interaction with relevant European large-scale initiatives.