While providing routine patient care, hospitals and doctors collect huge amounts of ‘real-world’ healthcare data which could be immensely valuable for research into future treatments. However, often this data has not been collected to agreed-upon standards, which makes any attempt to combine or compare the datasets a lot of work.
The EHDEN project has a vision of the future wherein this real-world data can be used by the healthcare community to quickly generate high-quality insights that can improve patient care. Through a network of 98 data partners, the project has harmonised more than 400 million health records, transforming data from disparate databases to a ‘common data model’. This valuable resource has already been used to generate evidence on COVID19 vaccines and potential treatments, diabetes, and other indications.
At the mid-point of the project, the partners have announced the creation of a new organisation that will support research carried out by the partners in the EHDEN network and the wider research community beyond the lifetime of the IMI-funded project. It will support studies into more diseases and new treatments through study-a-thons and research programmes, continue work on methodological and technical developments of the data and analytics infrastructure, ensure new data partners can join, and further grow the ‘EHDEN Academy’ , which is a free training programme initially developed to train and certify data harmonisation SMEs, but has now been expanded to also include a variety of analytical courses, too.
The new entity is being launched as a not-for-profit incorporated in the Netherlands, transitioning the project into a long-term sustainable operation from 2024.