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How digital data sharing boosts healthcare innovation



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Every day, across Europe, millions of medical data are generated during the delivery of care. However, this mass of information is not exploited to its maximum potential.

The contribution of the European health data space

The European health data space launched in May 2022 by the European Commission aims to fill this gap. It will make information more accessible to patients and healthcare professionals at home and abroad, but it will also create the technical conditions for using it safely to encourage research and innovation.

It should be remembered that there are two types of use of health data: primary use, linked to care such as consulting a doctor, and secondary use, in reference to the processing of this information under secure and confidential conditions with a view to to develop policies or improve health products, for example.

Towards a homogenization of standards

To broaden the range of business opportunities, organizations like Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) are promoting common specifications.

“In the European market, the digital health sector and companies are facing different obstacles,” explains Alexander Berler, Director of Strategic Business Development at IHE Catalyst AISBL. “Indeed, the field of e-health constitutes a fragmented market and this to the detriment of European citizens, contrary to what is happening in the United States and Asia,” he specifies. The HL7 organization does this for its part, on a global level.

Access to new markets

The European e-health market is worth around 40 billion euros and it is constantly growing.

For companies in the digital health sector, for example Gnomon Informatics in Greece, which specializes in electronic health products such as the “e-Health Pass”, a coordinated exchange of data would give it access to new markets in Europe. A new situation favorable to commercial development and to patients.

“Medical data modeling is very important for European citizens as well as for those elsewhere in the world because a patient can have all his information and the history of his illnesses within our device for example,” notes Korina Papadopoulou, product development manager at this Greek company. “This way, he can take his data with him when he travels to different countries and use it with any care service or doctor,” she points out.


By improving interoperability between healthcare providers across Europe, it will also be possible to avoid duplication of analyses, for example. This will have positive effects on the cost of care and patient follow-up.

“Using the European Health Data Space is a step in the right direction when it comes to having an architectural approach to health systems,” said Kostis Kaggelidis, CEO of Gnomon Informatics. “This puts Europe on the right track to be able to set up an e-health sector and quality services,” he assures.

The connection between digital medical ecosystems is based on interoperability: this is possible when computer systems read, use and exchange data using the same language. Semantics makes it possible to fill in the gaps in terminology between the different systems and it is necessary to agree on the rules of grammar, the syntax of the information received.

Once fully implemented, the European Health Data Area will help establish a European e-health market that transcends internal borders.

It will also enable European small and medium-sized enterprises to collaborate in the development of new innovative health products.




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